Los Angeles’s arguably most popular art museum, LACMA, will be hosting the Obama Portraits Tour that also features other historical Black American portraits starting November 7. Museum visitors will be able to get an up close look at some of the United States’ most astounding Black art. The tour started in Chicago in June and will make its rounds through May, 2022.

From the Civil Rights era to the Black renaissance in Harlem, there will be great portraits that showcase the multitude of Blackness in the U.S.

The showstopper art pieces will most definitely be the portraits of the 44th U.S. President, Barack Obama, and the first lady, Michelle Obama. Their nontraditional paintings were hung up in the White House, and they broke precedent for how surreal the portraits were. Even though you could instantly tell that the portraits were of the beloved presidential couple, the forward-thinking colors used to display their identities were intentional to differentiate them from past presidents’ in-house artwork.

The Obama Portraits Tour is a traveling exhibition that stops in five major cities across the United States. The order of the tour goes from the Art Institute of Chicago to the Brooklyn Museum, LACMA, High Art Museum, and The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. This gallery will open up the world to Black art through the beauty of portraits rooted in realism.

The Obama’s portraits became so famous because of how the Black artists strategically used symbolic hues to portray the politician’s personalities. Kehinde Wiley’s depiction of President Obama centers the president sitting humbly on a wooden chair, with a wall of flowers standing right behind him. While first lady Michelle Obama leans poised with a white dress with African-inspired patterns.

These intimate artistic perspectives of both political figures will be shared with the world through educational galleries talking about Black portraits in America. This deep dive on how Black culture and portraiture is so important in visually experiencing certain aspects of Black life throughout American history.

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