Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Kehinde Wiley: Artist Added a ‘Sperm Cell’ to Obama’s Presidential Portrait

[videowaywire video_id=”34FF9E9482F9963F”]

Photo Credit: Twitter.com

*The official portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama were unveiled at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery on Feb. 12, and you might have missed one strange detail in the former president’s painting. 

“That the big, bulging vein on Obama’s forehead oddly looks like a sperm cell,” the Vigilant Citizen points out in an article titled “Strange Facts About Obama’s Portrait and its Painter Kehinde Wiley.”

Photo Credit: Vigilant Citizen

Wiley is known for his “colorful depictions of young black males over classical backdrops inspired from masterworks.”

Some of his paintings also “feature black women holding the decapitated heads of white women.”

Photo Credit: Twitter.com

Photo Credit: Twitter.com

Wiley’s work has been embraced by the entertainment industry because of the gay sexual themes and “he plays into the race wars agenda that has been going on for years.”

But a 2015 Village Voice article entitled What to Make of Kehinde Wiley’s Pervy Brooklyn Museum Retrospective? accuses him of “predatory behavior” because of his “exploitive” casting couch methods.

“Wiley often recruits his models from the streets of New York to portray them in a lavish, sexually-charged fashion.”

Kehinde Wiley. (Photo Credit: Twitter.com)

In a 2015 interview with CBS News, Wiley stated that he often added sperm cells inside paintings to “take masculinity and all of its bravado down to its most essential component”.

“His Alexander the Great variation features a background full of sperm cells,” see below.

“Sperm cells can be found in the background of this Napoleon-inspired painting.”

His Alexander the Great variation features a background full of sperm cells.
Photo Credit: Vigilant Citizen

Despite his controversies, Obama specifically selected Wiley to produce his official portrait. And considering his “propensity for adding hidden symbols in his paintings,” a closer look at Obama’s portrait reveals some “weird stuff,” most notably that sperm cell on his face.

“Others observed that Obama appears to have a sixth finger,” see below.

Photo Credit: Vigilant Citizen

When Obama’s portrait was unveiled last week, his response to it was: “How about that? That’s pretty sharp.”

Photo Credit: Twitter.com

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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1 COMMENT

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