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Artists : Kehinde Wiley

Kehinde Wiley

Kehinde Wiley Kehinde Wiley

Kehinde Wiley is a contemporary painter known for his distinctive portraits of black men and women which raise questions about race, gender, and the politics of representation. Wiley’s portraits of everyday people riff on paintings by Old Masters, replacing the European aristocrats depicted in them with contemporary black subjects, drawing attention to their absence from historical and cultural narratives. Through the process of 'street casting,' the artist invites individuals he encounters on the street, to sit for his portraits. In his collaborative process, the model chooses a reproduction of a painting and reenacts the pose of the painting’s figure. This way Wiley gives his subjects a measure of control over the way they’re portrayed. Born in 1977 in Los Angeles, he received his BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1999 and his MFA from the Yale School of Art in 2001. In 2018, Wiley unveiled his official presidential portrait of Barack Obama for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. Wiley’s works are held in the collections of the MET, New York, the Denver Art Museum, and the Walker Art Centre in Minneapolis, among others.  

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