Raised in South Central LA, Wiley won a scholarship to study art at Yale before quickly rising to fame with his detailed paintings of black men (and later, women) in poses straight from the Old Masters. The pieces set out to counteract the lack of black figures in galleries and museums, echoing historical works in their use of light and form. The attire of Wiley’s subjects, meanwhile, places them firmly in the 21st century, while the detailed, repetitive backgrounds lend a signature intricacy. Wiley is currently based in Dakar, Senegal, where he also runs the artist-in-residence programme, Black Rock.
Did you know?
Barack Obama chose Wiley to paint his portrait for the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.
Country of Birth
Phillips New York, 'Portrait of Mickalene Thomas, the Coyote', 2020
Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA
MET Museum, New York, USA
Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis, USA
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, USA
Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic, Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA, 2015
The World Stage: Jamaica, Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, UK, 2013
Three Wise Men Greeting Entry Into Lagos, Pennsylvania Academy Of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, USA, 2008