In Time Out, Sophie Fels writes that painter Kehinde Wiley is like the hero of a children�s story. “Wiley grew up as one of six siblings raised with more love than money by a single mom who was an antiques dealer in South Central Los Angeles. His father, who works in architecture, was from Nigeria, and had left Wiley�s mom before he was born. At age 20, Wiley, then studying art in San Francisco, set out for that country�s largest city, Lagos, to find his dad�which he did, remarkably, by asking around. After about a month in Africa, Wiley returned to the U.S., where he started a series of portraits based on his father.
“Since then, likenesses have made Wiley his name. The artist, 31, starts with a striking formula, juxtaposing elements from 18th- and 19th-century portraiture�billowing clouds, shining swords�with the figures of young black men in jeans and athletic jerseys. Currently, his work is installed in the lobby of the Brooklyn Museum and can be seen in a group survey, ‘Recognize!,’ at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. And on Wednesday 16 at Studio Museum in Harlem, Wiley opens ‘The World Stage: Africa, Lagos ~ Dakar,’ a new series he produced in temporary studios in Lagos, and Dakar, Senegal. In these canvases, Wiley placed local subjects against African textiles. ‘It�s taking what he does and moving,’ explains the Studio Museum�s director, Thelma Golden (the subject of one of Wiley�s few renderings of women, where she�s limned Queen Elizabeth I), adding that this new work signals the artist is entering his ‘early midcareer.” Read more.
�Kehinde Wiley: The World Stage: Africa, Lagos ~ Dakar� Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY. Through Oct 26.