Barack And Michelle Obama Attend Portrait Unveiling At Nat'l Portrait Gallery theGrio.com
In 2018, Barack Obama and Michelle Obama stand next to their newly unveiled portraits during a ceremony at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The official portraits of our forever president, Barack Obama, and first lady, Michelle, will hit the road on a five-city national tour starting June 2021.

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery paintings will start at the Art Institute of Chicago, which will house the portraits from June 18, 2021 to August 15, 2021 before traveling to New York’s Brooklyn Museum, followed by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and then the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and ending at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, reported NBC News.

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The paintings, both created by Black artists, were controversial when they were unveiled in February 2018. Kehinde Wiley captured former president Obama and Amy Sherald painted Michelle Obama. Wiley and Sherald were the first African-American artists chosen to ever paint the official president and first lady’s official portraits.

“Since the unveiling of these two portraits of the Obamas, the Portrait Gallery has experienced a record number of visitors, not only to view these works in person but to be part of the communal experience of a particular moment in time,” Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery, said in a statement, according to NBC News. “This tour is an opportunity for audiences in different parts of the country to witness how portraiture can engage people in the beauty of dialogue and shared experience.”

“We view the country as our community,” Sajet added. “Since the unveiling of these two portraits of the Obamas, the Portrait Gallery has experienced a record number of visitors, not only to view these works in person, but to be part of the communal experience of a particular moment in time. This tour is an opportunity for audiences in different parts of the country to witness how portraiture can engage people in the beauty of dialogue and shared experience.”

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In Barack Obama’s portrait, the former president is seated in a brown chair with his arms folded among a backdrop of green vines and brightly colored Chrysanthemum flowers surround him. Chrysanthemums are the official flower of Chicago, where Obama hails. The flowers also include jasmine, signifying Hawaii, where Obama was born, and African blue lilies, which pay tribute to Kenya, where Obama’s father was born.

In our forever FLOTUS’ portrait, Sherald painted Obama in a gray hue. She was also seated and was visualized wearing a floor-length white gown with geometric shapes.