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Barack Obama and Michelle Obama Portraits

Baltimore artist Amy Sherald made a routine stop at a Rite Aid in October 2012. She needed supplies for her studio. The trip almost killed her.

Barack Obama Portrait
Michelle Obama Portrait Unveiling

While shopping, Sherald felt her heart galloping unevenly inside her chest, she later recounted in aninterview. This was not unusual. Years earlier she had been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease. At the time, doctors said the 30-year-old graduate student had the organ of an 80-year-old woman, she said. The flutters were part of the condition. They usually just went away.

Such a medical condition upends any life, but for a young painter — already facing the long odds of mainstream success — the ailment threw new obstacles at Sherald. She was often sapped of energy, too exhausted to paint. To pay for treatment, she was forced to wait tables five nights a week.

Inside the drugstore, she waited and hoped for her blood’s rhythm to settle. But she blacked out. Moments later she woke up on the store’s floor, blood pooling under her head. An ambulance raced her to Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Barack Obama Portraits
Michelle Obama Portrait

“I felt like I could die then,” Sherald recalled to Baltimore Magazine. “I actually felt that for the first time, and it did scare me. I thought, ‘I can’t be afraid to die,’ so I just made peace with it at that moment. I said, ‘I’m not going to be afraid, it’s all going to be okay.’”

But Sherald pulled through, and this week, the artist is in the national spotlight with a new level of professional success.

On Monday, the National Portrait Gallery presented the official portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama. The former president’s picture was painted by Kehinde Wiley. The former first lady’s image was captured by Sherald, in a piece that presented Michelle Obama in “a curious mix of confidence and vulnerability,” as The Washington Post’s critic Philip Kennicott put it.

source: www.washingtonpost.com/
read more at: washingtonpost

Obama Portraits
Barack Michelle Obama Portrait Unveiling Event Pictures
Barack Obama and Michelle Obama Portraits

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