The front of London's National Gallery

Fond farewell for Kehinde Wiley’s National Gallery show

The Kehinde Wiley show has left The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square after four months.

This has been portrait painter Wiley’s first collaboration with a major UK gallery. 

Wiley is an American artist best known for his portraits that places people of colour in the traditional settings of Old Master paintings.

Wiley has studied European Romanticism and features epic scenes of oceans and mountains.

In  2017, he was commissioned to paint Barack Obama, becoming the first Black artist to paint an official portrait of a president of the United States. 

According to the National Gallery’s website, Wiley’s work raise questions about power, privilege, identity, and highlights the absence or relegation of Black figures within European art.

The public have expressed their feelings about the exhibition’s exit from the gallery

Zee Sykes, 39, a service manager and artist, felt that the artwork was incredible and found it captivating. 

She said: “It would be nice if it was a permanent fixture. There’s not enough black art in major art spaces.  I was determined to get there before it ended. It was good to see so many people engaged in the moment. I think it should stay as I really want to see it again and I know it’s going to end soon.”

Another gallery visitor Sarah Harris, 41, said: “The work has a home here as it doesn’t look odd. It’s very much in a space full of history creating its own historic presence in a place with such rich history.” 

She added: “I often come here, artist exhibitions come and go but this one has stood out and I feel that a permanent home within the gallery would be a beautiful addition to the place.”

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