The Obama portraits are going on tour

“Barack Obama” by Kehinde Wiley. 2018. Image courtesy National Portrait Gallery

The incredibly popular portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama—as painted by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, respectively—will be getting a break from the nation’s capital as they leave their home at Washington’s National Portrait Gallery for a five-city tour. Their travels will begin in June 2021 with a stop at the Art Institute of Chicago, followed by the Brooklyn Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the High Museum in Atlanta and finally the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. “This tour is an opportunity for audiences in different parts of the country to witness how portraiture can engage people,” Kim Sajet, the director of the National Portrait Gallery, told The Washington Post. “You can use these portraits as a portal to all sorts of conversations.” The portraits will return to Washington in mid-2022. According to Sajet, “there will be a big party when they get back.”