The artist who painted former President Barack Obama‘s official portrait has come under fore for past works featuring scandalous subjects.

There are at least two instances where Kehinde Wiley, 41, has painted portraits of black women holding a knife in one hand and the decapitated head of a white woman in the other.

Both portraits also juxtapose the austere images of the women by featuring a busy floral background, similar to Obama’s portrait.

492D5FE300000578 5386961 There are at least two instances where Wiley has painted portrai m 78 1518550177295 232x300 - Revealed: Barack Obama's official portrait artist once painted black women BEHEADING white women in controversial works he described as 'a play on the "kill whitey" thing'
There are at least two instances where Wiley has painted portraits of black women holding a knife in one hand and the decapitated head of a white woman in the other

 

492D5FE800000578 5386961 image a 76 1518550153555 289x300 - Revealed: Barack Obama's official portrait artist once painted black women BEHEADING white women in controversial works he described as 'a play on the "kill whitey" thing'
Both portraits also juxtapose the harsh images of the women by featuring a busy floral background, similar to Obama’s portrait

But Wiley says the paintings are based on Renaissance works by Caravaggio and Gentileschi depicting the Biblical story of Judith beheading the Assyrian general Holofernes.

The artist who painted former President Barack Obama‘s official portrait has come under fore for past works featuring scandalous subjects.

There are at least two instances where Kehinde Wiley, 41, has painted portraits of black women holding a knife in one hand and the decapitated head of a white woman in the other.

Both portraits also juxtapose the austere images of the women by featuring a busy floral background, similar to Obama’s portrait.

But Wiley says the paintings are based on Renaissance works by Caravaggio and Gentileschi depicting the Biblical story of Judith beheading the Assyrian general Holofernes.

492D757700000578 5386961 image a 2 1518554731466 300x221 - Revealed: Barack Obama's official portrait artist once painted black women BEHEADING white women in controversial works he described as 'a play on the "kill whitey" thing'
But Wiley says the paintings are based on Renaissance works by Caravaggio (above) and Gentileschi depicting the Biblical story of Judith beheading the Assyrian general Holofernes

In a 2012 explanation of the work from the North Carolina Museum of Art foundation, it reads:

‘Judith and Holofernes is from Wiley’s most recent body of work and his first series of paintings to feature female subjects.

‘Wiley translates this image of a courageous, powerful woman into a contemporary version that resonates with fury and righteousness.’

In an interview with New York Magazine, he said: ‘It’s sort of a play on the “kill whitey” thing,’

Wiley, one of six children, was born to a Nigerian father and an African-American father, but he and his siblings grew up in South Central Los Angeles in the 1980 with just their mother.

When he was about 11 years old he enrolled in a small art conservatory, according to his website.

He went on to earn his BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1999 and his MFA from Yale University, School of Art in 2001.

Wiley has been popular in the contemporary art world for many years.

The New York-based artist is known for his massive canvases that showcase contemporary African Americans in positions of power and strength.

source: Daily Mail

News Reporter

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