A little over a year after departing the White House, Barack and Michelle Obama unveiled their official portraits at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery on Feb. 12. Much like the former president’s time in office, the portraits are unique and unprecedented in their use of prints, vibrant colors, and personality.
Kehinde Wiley painted Mr. Obama’s official portrait, while Amy Sherald painted that of Mrs. Obama. The two have made history as the first black artists to create official presidential portraits for the Smithsonian, with Wiley also being the first openly LGBTQ+ artist to do so.
“To call this experience humbling would be an understatement,” the former president wrote on Instagram. “Thanks to Kehinde and Amy, generations of Americans — and young people from all around the world — will visit the National Portrait Gallery and see this country through a new lens. They’ll walk out of that museum with a better sense of the America we all love. Clear-eyed. Big-hearted. Inclusive and optimistic.”
The unveiling ceremony was filled with many heartwarming moments, like when Mr. Obama stopped to just stare up at the former first lady’s portrait. Ahead, enjoy every emotional picture from the historic event.
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