President Barack Obama’s official presidential likeness has a decidedly flower-friendly look.
The portrait, painted by Kehinde Wiley and unveiled this week at the National Portrait Gallery, features a seated Obama against the backdrop of flowers with personal meaning to the former president: African blue lilies for Kenya, his father’s birthplace; jasmine for Hawaii, where Obama was born; chrysanthemums, the official flower of Chicago, for the city where his political career began.
“What makes this [portrait] distinctive is the personal part,” writes Holland Cotter for The New York Times. “Mr. Wiley has set Mr. Obama against — really embedded him in — a bower of what looks like ground cover. From the greenery sprout flowers that have symbolic meaning for the sitter.”