The Obamas returned to the public eye Monday for the unveiling of their official portraits at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, which houses portraits of every past president.
Barack and Michelle Obama each chose an artist to paint their official portrait. The former president chose Kehinde Wiley, a painter famous for his portraits of black figures in iconic and heroic poses. In the painting, Barack Obama is shown sitting in front of a leafy wall.
Both Obamas gave remarks on the works.
“Look at that: I look pretty sharp,” the former president said of his portrait. “I tried to negotiate less grey hair. … I tried to negotiate smaller ears, struck out on that as well.”
“Amy, I want to thank you for so spectacularly capturing the grace and beauty and intelligence and charm and hotness of the woman that I love,” Barack said.
Michelle Obama used the moment to call attention to the fact that young people of color — especially young girls of color — will be able to see someone who looks like them among the official presidential portraits at the Smithsonian.