The former US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama officially unveiled their portraits commissioned by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery for its permanent collection.
He event was attended by a number of their friends and colleagues including Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Shonda Rhimes and Joe Biden.
They are the first African American artists to receive the president and first lady commissions, respectively, and they bring a contemporary excitement to the traditional portrait, said National Portrait Gallery Director Kim Sajet.
The final product depicts Obama sitting in a straight-backed chair, leaning forward and looking serious while surrounded by greenery and flowers. Michelle Obama`s portrait, painted by Amy Sherald, shows her in a black and white dress looking thoughtful with her hand on her chin.
Both artists were personally chosen by the Obamas.
"I tried to negotiate less gray hair, but Kehinde`s artistic integrity would not allow it. I tried to negotiate smaller ears and struck out on that as well," said Obama in his usual humorous tone.
"I am humbled, I am honored, I am proud," Michelle Obama said. "Young people, particularly girls and girls of color, in future years they will come to this place and see someone who looks like them hanging on the walls of this incredible institution."