It’s your last chance to see Kehinde Wiley at The National Gallery
The American artist is famous for reimagining western portraiture with Black protagonists. At his current exhibition, ‘The Prelude’, he shifts his focus to landscape painting
Thursday 7 April 2022 By Soho House
Kehinde Wiley is an American artist whose hyper-real paintings subvert the principles of European portraiture, blurring the boundary between traditional and contemporary representation. By positioning contemporary Black sitters in the poses of original historical, religious or mythological figures, his work serves to highlight the empty spaces and pages of art history where people who look like him should be represented.
Standout pieces from his oeuvre include remakes of ‘Napoleon Crossing The Alps’ by Jacques-Louis David, ‘Jacob de Graeff’ by Gerard ter Borch, and ‘The Dead Christ In The Tomb’ by Hans Holbein the Younger.
Over the past 20 years, Wiley’s work has found fans in some of hip-hop’s biggest names, and he has painted for the likes of Spike Lee, LL Cool J, Questlove, and Ice-T. His most famous commission, however, came in 2018 when he was approached to paint former US president, Barack Obama.
Here, the artist sits down with Soho House’s Head of Collections, Kate Bryan, to discuss his current exhibition at The National Gallery.
Kehinde Wiley: The Prelude is at the National Gallery, London, until 18 April