Barack and Michelle Obama have attended the unveiling of their official portraits at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC.
The former President of the united states, Obama said that his portrait by Kehinde Wiley, who is known for his Old-Master-style representation of African-Americans, was “pretty strong”.
“Wow!”, said Mrs. Obama of his paintings by Amy Sherald, another black artist, whose work deals with social justice.
Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks were among the guests at the inauguration.
New faces in the US National Portrait Gallery
“No one in my family tree as I can say that you had your portrait done,” said Mr. Obama.
He joked that her yearbook picture was the closest he had come to such honour.
Mr Obama praised Ms Sherald for the painting to capture the “warmth” of his wife.
The former president said Mr Wiley was “working at a disadvantage, as its subject matter was less to become. Does not like to fly.”
Ms Obama heaped praise on Ms Sherald’s work.
“I’m thinking of all the girls of color that is going to come and see someone who looks like them hanging on the wall of this great American Institution,” said the former first lady.
“And I know the kind of impact that will have on their lives,” she continued, “because I was one of those girls.”
Mr Wiley painted Mr Obama in bright colors sitting in a garden, while Ms Sherald represented the former first lady in muted tones, against a plain background.
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“The ability to be the first African-American painter to paint the first african-american president of the united States was absolutely overwhelming,” said an emotional Mr Wiley.
“There is nothing better than that.”
The reactions to the portraits were mixed.
Some social media users joked that the image of Mr Obama in a garden looked strangely similar to a photo of the popular singer Beyoncé.
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Others joked that the tv series The Simpsons inspired Mr Obama’s portrait.
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There was praise from some who applauded Mr. Wiley “incredibly powerful” portrait.
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Several people took to Twitter to counter the criticism that Ms Obama’s portrait did not look like it.
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