Renowned artist Kehinde Wiley, who gained international acclaim as the first African-American artist to officially paint a US president, Barack Obama in 2018 has now embarked on a remarkable artistic journey.
His latest endeavour encompasses a series of 11 captivating portraits featuring both current and former African leaders.
In this extraordinary exhibition, titled “Kehinde Wiley: A Maze of Power,” Wiley pays homage to African heads of state, capturing their essence on canvas.
The distinguished subjects of his artistry include President Nana Akufo-Addo, Nigerian former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Ethiopia’s President Sahle-Work Zewde, among others.
Wiley’s remarkable exhibition has recently debuted at the Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac in Paris, France. These article pieces are set to captivate audiences until January 2024.
Speaking in a documentary about his work, Wiley said that the creation of these remarkable portraits was a decade-long endeavour.
Between 2012 and this year, he embarked on a profound journey across Africa, engaging in insightful dialogues with various leaders. These discussions delved into themes such as the historical context of aristocratic, royal and military portraiture prevalent in 17th to 19th Century Europe.
Drawing inspiration from these meaningful interactions, Wiley crafted compositions that artfully convey each leader’s unique perspective on contemporary African leadership.
As Wiley himself describes it, “This is a look at the presidency itself. This is an invitation for the viewer to expand the possibilities of what it means to look at art in Africa, about Africa, and about power.”
The artworks produced by Kehinde Wiley in this exceptional collection offer a captivating glimpse into the rich tapestry of African leadership and its place in the broader world of art and power.
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