‘Seun Ibukun-Oni, Abuja – Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama returned to the White House on Wednesday for the unveiling of their official White House portraits — marking their first joint return since they left in 2017
As the nation’s first Black president, Barack Obama made history.
Today Obama and Michelle’s official portraits have been unveiled at the White House in a historic event.
Hosted by fellow Democrat President Joe Biden more than five years after Obama left office, the Obamas basked in applause from former staff members assembled in the East Room and lauded the artists for capturing their images which will hang in the White House for generations to come.
Artist Robert McCurdy put the grey-suited Barack Obama, the first Black U.S. president, at the center of his canvas, in a photorealistic portrait with a white background.
Robert McCurdy, the artist Obama chose for his portrait, is known for his photorealistic oil paintings with unusually sparse backgrounds in which the subject holds no props, makes no gestures and doesn’t smile.
The former first lady is pictured in a blue dress in the White House’s Red Room, in a painting by Brooklyn artist Sharon Sprung.
The event was a reunion of sorts for Obama administration officials and for the Obamas and Bidens, who grew close during the eight years Biden served as Obama’s vice president.
There are few people I have known with more integrity, more decency and more courage than Barack Obama,” Biden told the unveiling ceremony in the East Room. “Nothing could have prepared more for being president of the United States than being by your side for eight years.”
Customarily, a former president returns for the unveiling during his successor’s tenure, but a ceremony for the Obamas did not take place during Republican President Donald Trump’s administration.
Trump, before winning the 2016 election and succeeding Obama, pushed the “birther” movement that falsely suggested Obama was not born in the United States.
Obama thanked Biden, his vice president between 2009 and 2017, for building on the work they did together.
“Thanks to your decency and thanks to your strength, maybe most of all thanks to your faith in our democracy and the American people, the country’s better off than when you took office and we should all be deeply grateful to you for that,” Obama said.