oil on canvas 108" x 180"
Exhibit : Kehinde Wiley A New Republic / Seattle Art Museum
The History of painting by and large has pictured very few black and brown people, and in particular very few black men. My interest is in countering that absence
Kehinde Wiley lives and works in New York and Beijing. His work portrays street culture, black masculinity and the essence of hip hop as constructs that obscure the complexity and subjectivity of human identity. By inserting the black body into the classic poses of aristocrat individuals, religious figures, and men of influence from the 15th to the early 20th centuries, Wiley's work benefits and redefine a paradigm that has historically excluded young men of color.
Originally focusing on male subjects, Kehinde recently embarked on a new series of striking images of women. The young men and women in Kehinde Wiley's works focus on the epic portraiture traditions of the European painters, but introduce contemporary pop culture in all its diversity.
Wiley's paintings are thought-provoking composites. For his World Stage series, which began in 2006, Wiley traveled to China, the Middle East, Africa, India, and Central and South America to portray people of color in light of the histories and narratives of their respective countries, many of which are still holding on with their colonial histories. A New Republic is in its last week of exhibiting over at the SAM- Seattle Art Museum.