Tue, 13 Feb, 2018
Barack Obama jokes about big ears as new portrait unveiled
Former US President Barack Obama has poked fun about his big ears and praised his wife’s “hotness” as their portraits were unveiled at America’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC overnight.
Painted by African-American artists who were personally chosen by the Obamas, the couple made a rare public appearance to attend the portrait unveiling.
Speaking at the event, Mr Obama said that working with artist Kehinde Wiley was “a great joy,” but jokingly added that the artist refused to budge on some of his request.
“I tried to negotiate less grey hair [but] Kehinde’s artistic integrity would not allow [him] to do what I asked. I tried to negotiate smaller ears. Struck out on that as well.”
The former first lady Michelle Obama was painted by Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald, who Mr Obama personally thanked during his speech.
“Amy, I want to thank you for so spectacularly capturing the grace and beauty and intelligence and charm and hotness of the woman I love,” the former president said.
But Mrs Obama’s portrait has drawn mixed reactions from the public, with the most common criticism being that it doesn’t look like the former first lady.
The gallery has a complete collection of presidential portraits. The latest additions are now available for public viewing.