ST. LOUIS – Artist Kehinde Wiley has spent the last three years working on capturing the essence of St. Louis and Ferguson, Missouri.
“The name of the exhibition is called St. Louis,” says Wiley. “People, all my subjects, were minding their own business and I basically tried to convince them that I was legitimate and they should be subjects in my work.”
Wiley’s paintings have been featured in museums across America and around the world and on the hit television series “Empire.”
But from October 19 until February 10, Wiley has come to town to put St. Louis on his canvas at a St. Louis Art Museum (SLAM) exhibit entitled “Kehinde Wiley: Saint Louis.”
“I invited all subjects to come to the museum whereupon I created a photo shoot using poses that come from great masterworks from the museum,” says Wiley.
“We were just at a Chinese restaurant eating,' says Lynette Foote, who is featured in the exhibit. “When I pulled up there were a bunch of cameras and I was fussing at my daughter about coming on. Mr. Behind was there and he invited us and here we are. And I must say his work is amazing.”
Wiley’s work caught the eye of former President Barack Obama. When the 44th president was looking for someone to paint his official portrait for the National Gallery in Washington D.C., he wound up choosing Kehinde Wiley.