Obama Painter Kehinde Wiley Known For Portraying Black Heroines Decapitating White WomenChris Menahan
Feb. 12, 2018
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Barack Obama unveiled his official portrait as painted by artist Kehinde Wiley at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC on Monday.
"Wiley typically portrays people of color posing as famous figures in Western art," the Portrait Gallery said of his work. "Through this practice, he challenges the visual rhetoric of power that is dominated by elite white men."
"Barack Obama said he admired how Wiley's photos 'challenge our conventional views of power and privilege,'" NPR reports.
Part of challenging the "power" of white people evidently involves angry black women decapitating white women, which Wiley has a fixation for:
Asked for the meaning of his decapitation painting by New York Magazine in 2012, Wiley said, "It's sort of a play on the 'kill whitey' thing."
North Carolina Museum of Art shared this profile in 2012:
Known for his monumental portraits of young black men, placed in historical poses and settings appropriated from Old Master paintings, Kehinde Wiley critiques the racism of art history while also commenting on contemporary street culture and masculine identity. Reinventing classical portraiture and questioning who is represented in the portraits found in museums worldwide, Wiley states, “The whole conversation of my work has to do with power and who has it.”Imagine if President Trump had his official portrait painted by a white artist known for his portraits of white women decapitating black women.
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