Nigerian-born American painter, Kehinde Wiley has made the 2018 TIME’s 100 most influential list. The list which brings together the most influential people in the area of art, leadership and pace-setters each year.
Kehinde Wile was the artist who painted the official portrait of Barack Obama, which was unveiled earlier this year at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
The 2018 list includes several members of the world of art and architecture.
“Some consider him irreverent; I see an iconoclast,” rapper LL Cool J, who has previously sat for one of the artist’s portraits, noted in his write-up about Wiley. “Some of his subjects come from hip-hop culture, but he’s not a hip-hop painter. To put it simply, he does dope sh-t.”
Actors, painters, musicians, businessmen, political leaders, athletes – people from all walks of life who are making strides this year have been recognised.
Kehinde Wiley is a classically, formally trained artist who is transforming the way African Americans are seen going against the grain of what the world is accustomed to.
Over the previous two decades, the Los Angeles-raised and New York City-based artist became known for his larger-than-life canvasses showing contemporary African Americans within centuries-old trappings of power and status. Many of his highly sought-after works, which sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars, evoke Old Master paintings.
He’s also become known for his process of basing portraits off photographs of everyday people he meets on city streets around the world. It’s a method he first started using in Harlem, where these amateur models would choose classical images as inspiration for the resulting portraits.
in October 2017, there was a report that revealed that at the end of each U.S presidency, the National Portrait Gallery partners with the White House to commission one official portrait each of the president and the first lady.
Kehinde Wiley was then chosen by the former American President Barack Obama to draw his official portrait for the project.