Former US president, Barack Obama, has chosen a US based Nigerian artist, Kehinde Wiley, to paint his official portrait.
According to a report in the Independent, Kehinde Wiley has been commissioned by the Smithsonian Institute to produce the work for the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC.
Former first lady Michelle Obama selected Baltimore artist Amy Sherald, known for challenging stereotypes through life-sized paintings of African-Americans, for her accompanying portrait.
They are the first black artists commissioned to produce the artworks which are traditionally produced at the end of each president’s tenure.
Mr Wiley, known for his vibrant portrayals of young
African-Americans set against colourful Baroque backdrops, is also likely to break from the stylistic convention set by previous presidential portraits.
He has previously depicted subjects including rappers, the Notorious BIG, LL Cool J, and Ice T, in works that reference iconic portraits of powerful western figures by the Old Masters.
The paintings will be unveiled in early 2018 and will enter the gallery’s permanent exhibition, which includes the only complete collection of presidential portraits in the US outside of the White House.
A second pair of the works will hang in the White House, in keeping with a tradition that began with Gilbert Stuart’s portrayal of George Washington in 1796.
Kehinde Wiley told the BBC as far back as 2008 that he would “love” to produce Mr Obama’s official portrait.
“I’ve done several studies in the past, I’ve sort of worked out different strategies about how that would be, but it’s a very curious possibility,”
He added: “The reality of Barack Obama being the president of the United States—quite possibly the most powerful nation in the world—means that the image of power is completely new for an entire generation of not only black American kids, but every population group in this nation.”