- The Obamas have selected Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald to paint their portraits
- The portraits will be part of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery
- Wiley and Sherald are the first African American artists to paint a portrait for the Gallery
Former US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle have selected two black artists to paint their official portrait for the Smithsonian museum's National Portrait Gallery.
The Smithsonian announced on October 13 that New York’s Kehinde Wiley and Baltimore's Amy Sherald will paint the portraits.
They will therefore become the first African American artists to be commissioned to paint a presidential couple for the National Portrait Gallery.
In a statement, the Smithsonian said: "The theatrical poses and props Wiley assigns to his subjects make references to iconic portraits of powerful figures by Western artists."
It added: "Sherald challenges stereotypes and probes notions of identity through her life-size paintings of African Americans."
Sherald has already made history as the first African American and first woman to win the National Portrait Gallery’s Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. She won in 2016.
The Smithsonian has been commissioning portraits for former US presidents and first ladies since George H. W. Bush. The Obamas' portraits will be unveiled in 2018.
Get to know the artists painting the Obamas' official portraits.