MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Renowned artist Kehinde Wiley is known for giving a voice to the voiceless, replacing black figures for white ones in classical paintings as a remedy for the historical invisibility of black men.

But the power struggle was flipped when he was commissioned to paint Barack Obama and the most powerful man in the world was suddenly the subject of the artist known for elevating the unknowns.

During a Monday appearance during the week of Art Basel Miami he told a crowd that Michelle Obama vetoed his initial draft even though the president loved it.

The artist sat down for an exclusive interview with The Associated Press fresh of the heels off his historic Times Square sculpture and talked about his new artist residency program in Africa and his foray into stained glass.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

PLEASE BE ADVISED: Soon we will no longer integrate with Facebook for story comments. The commenting option is not going away, however, readers will need to register for a FREE site account to continue sharing their thoughts and feedback on stories. If you already have an account (i.e. current subscribers, posting in obituary guestbooks, for submitting community events), you may use that login, otherwise, you will be prompted to create a new account.

Load comments