What's the secret political meaning behind the dress in Michelle Obama's portrait?

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"The widening scandal surrounding former President Barack Obama's official portrait continued to swirl on Tuesday, with shocking allegations the artist included "secret sperm cells" within the painting and once joked about "Killing Whitey" during an interview", the blog says of artist Kehinde Wiley.

Both portraits will hang in Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. alongside those of previous American leaders.

The paintings were revealed Monday at the gallery, which is part of the Smithsonian group of museums.

WorldNetDaily led its story about Wiley with the observation that Obama "apparently enjoys painting portraits of black women holding the severed heads of white people". "We're still trying to express our identity... when we do see ourselves we're sort of taken aback".

"You will see hanging on the walls of this great American institution an image of someone who looks like them ... and I know the kind of impact that will have on their lives, because I was one of those girls", said Michelle Obama, daughter on Monday. from a middle class family in South Chicago.

The artists, chosen by the Obamas, have combined traditional representation with elements that underscore the complexity of their subjects, and the historic fact of their political rise.

In his portrait, President Obama is depicted sitting in a chair, with his arms folded. "And her just being herself was a profound statement that really engaged all of us because she is just accessible, and I think that she is ideally the same as the sitters that I've had before". More recently he has expanded his repertoire to include female subjects, as well as models from Brazil, India, Nigeria and Senegal, creating the collective image of a global black aristocracy.

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His portraits initially depicted African-American men against rich textile or wallpaper backgrounds whose patterns he has likened to abstractions of sperm. "There has got to be something about them that only I can see", she told The New York Times.

Sherald says she and the former first lady looked at a few dresses before picking the one she ultimately wore.

The former president also praised Sherald's work.

On Instagram Michelle proudly posted Sherald's portrait and wrote, "As a young girl, even in my wildest dreams, I never could have imagined this moment".

Ostensibly, the artist is saying that his piece is intended as a reflection on black rage - not as an exhortation for African-American women to decapitate as many white devils as they can. Instead, they were deliberately commissioned by two different artists for their unique approaches to portraiture.

Known for his monumental portraits of young black men, placed in historical poses and settings appropriated from Old Master paintings, Kehinde Wiley critiques the racism of art history while also commenting on contemporary street culture and masculine identity.