Video Description: Kehinde Wiley rose to stardom as the master painter behind President Barack Obama’s portrait at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. In St. Louis, he’s unveiled a new series at the Saint Louis Art Museum. The subjects behind Wiley’s paintings originate from a trip to North St. Louis and Ferguson in 2017, where Wiley and his team street cast models for the series. The everyday men and women memorialized in his grand, large-scale paintings look immensely familiar. Wiley lauds the work as being a “celebration of 21st century culture.” When he spoke with the models, he requested that they wear clothing in which they felt comfortable – that reflected their own personal style. So the models wore camouflage and Nike t-shirts. They wore jean shorts and midriff tops with tattoos fully on display. However, the poses they assume hold a different kind of familiarity. As part of this project, Wiley took inspiration from masterworks within the museum’s collection, so these everyday people take on the roles once reserved for the wealthy and the white. The portraits reflect a personal narrative, both of the subjects and the artist himself.
Quick Ideas for Using the Video:
*Story videos employ a narrative form to highlight a topic, location, or practitioner in the area of study.
**The unique Video ID can be used to quickly locate a single video in the ET collection. This search function is designed to let teachers assign students to watch a specific video and have only that video appear as a search result. Just click on Search and choose “By Video ID.” Then type in the Video ID as it appears above. Be sure to include the dash.