On February 12th, 2018, the National Portrait Gallery today unveiled separate official portraits of President Barack Obama and ex-first lady Michelle Obama. Former President Obama choose controversial artist Kehinde Wiley create his official portrait and while the quality of the artwork was widely mocked, the artist’s previous work raised significant alarm. Wiley has previously created several renditions of the “Book of Judith” Biblical story depicting Judith beheading the Assyrian general Holofernes. In Wiley’s rendition, Judith was transformed from a Jewish woman into a black woman, and Holofernes is changed from a man into a white woman. Given the clear racial overtones – why did President Obama choose this specific artist?
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