Official Obama portraits unveiled at National Portrait Gallery

Former President Barack Obama, left, speaks at the unveiling ceremony for the Obama’s official portraits at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Former U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama unveiled their portraits Monday at the National Portrait Gallery in a rare public appearance in Washington.

“We miss you guys,” Mr. Obama said to the crowd who reacted with cheers and applause.

The former president’s portrait depicts him in a shirt and coat with a background of greenery and flowers, while Mrs. Obama sits in a flowing white dress with geometric patterns. Each chose a painter they felt would represent not only their likeness but also what they represent.

 “Both of us had American mothers who raised us with extraordinary love and support, both of us had African fathers who had been absent from our lives,” Mr. Obama said when discussing working with the painter Kehinde Wiley.

Mrs. Obama said that she was honored by what the portrait would represent to young people, particularly girls of color.

“I’m also thinking about all of the young people, particularly girls and girls of color, who in years ahead will come to this place and they will look up and they will see an image of someone who looks like them hanging on the wall of this American institution,” she said.

“I know the kind of impact that will have on their lives because I was one of those girls,” Mrs. Obama added.



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