Fond farewell for Kehinde Wiley’s National Gallery exhibition


The Kehinde Wiley exhibition has left the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square after four months.

This is the first collaboration of the portraitist Wiley with a major British gallery.

Wiley is an American artist best known for his portraits that place people of color within the traditional settings of Old Master paintings.

Wiley studied European Romanticism and features epic scenes of oceans and mountains.

In 2017 he was commissioned to paint Barack Obama, becoming the first black artist to paint an official portrait of a President of the United States.

According to the National Gallery‘s website, Wiley’s work raises questions about power, privilege, identity and highlights the absence or relegation of black figures within European art.

The public has spoken on the exit of the exhibition from the gallery

Zee Sykes, 39, service manager and artist, thought the artwork was amazing and found it captivating.

She said: “It would be nice if it was a permanent fixture. There is not enough black art in large art spaces. I was determined to get there before the end. It was good to see so many people involved at the moment. I think it should stay because I really want to see it again and I know it’s going to end soon.

Another gallery visitor, Sarah Harris, 41, said: “The work belongs here because it doesn’t look strange. It really is in a space steeped in history creating its own historical presence in a place with such a rich history.”

She added: “I come here often, artist exhibitions come and go but this one stood out and I think a permanent residency within the gallery would be a nice addition to the place.”


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