Kehinde Wiley (b. 1977, Los Angeles) is a world-renowned visual artist, best known for his vibrant portrayals of contemporary African-American and African-Diasporic individuals that subvert the hierarchies and conventions of European and American portraiture. Working in the mediums of painting, sculpture, and video, Wiley’s portraits challenge and reorient art-historical narratives, awakening complex sociopolitical issues that many would prefer remain muted.
In 2018 Wiley became the first African-American artist to paint an official U.S. Presidential portrait for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. Former U.S. President Barack Obama selected Wiley for this honor. Wiley is the recipient of the U.S. Department of State’s Medal of Arts, Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Medal, and France’s distinction of Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters. He holds a BFA from San Francisco Art Institute, an MFA from Yale University, and honorary doctorates from the Rhode Island School of Design and San Francisco Art Institute. He has held solo exhibitions throughout the United States and internationally and his works are included in the collections of over 50 public institutions around the world. Wiley is the Founder and President of Black Rock Senegal. He lives and works in Beijing, Dakar, and New York.