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Barack Obama’s presidential portrait starts a meme war, and it has ‘The Simpsons’ too

Barack Obama's portrait painted by artist Kehinde Wiley, and Michelle Obama's portrait painted by artist Amy Sherald was unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery. While many were amazed by the "historical" moment, others soon started a meme war.

Written by Shreya Das | New Delhi | Updated: February 13, 2018 10:26:15 pm
Barack Obama, michelle obama, obama portraits, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, obama portraits npg, Kehinde Wiley, Amy Sherald, obama portrait memes, world news, indian news, viral meme Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama stood on stage as their official portraits were unveiled at a ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Barack and Michelle Obama created history yet again as their official portraits were unveiled at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery among the elite white club of presidents in Washington on Monday (February 12). The event was also significant as it was for the first time that not one, but two African-American artists were selected to paint the former POTUS and the FLOTUS. As it is also the Black History Month, the unveiling of the Obama portraits created a huge buzz online and Netizens couldn’t stop praising the portraits for how beautifully it depicted their “favourite” President and First Lady.

While Obama’s huge 84-inch canvas was painted by New York-based artist Kehinde Wiley, best known for his vibrant, large-scale paintings of African Americans; Michelle Obama’s powerful imagery was painted by Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald.

The former president was painted in a suit – without a tie – against a background of leaves and flowers on the edge of a wooden chair, and the former FLOTUS looked lovely in a flowy dress with geometric patterns and a halter neckline. She was painted in a stoic and contemplative mood with her chin resting on her hand. Calling it “stunningly powerful” and “comforting”, Twitter users couldn’t stop gushing about the “groundbreaking moment”.

And even though Obama praised his wife’s portrait thanking Sherald for “capturing the grace and beauty and intelligence and charm and hotness of the woman” he loves, he also joked about how he tried to negotiate with his painter for “shorter ears” and less grey hair.

But soon, something else grabbed Tweeple’s attention. It was the picturesque background of Barack Obama’s photo. Although each flower on the official portrait depicted his journey on Earth — chrysanthemum, the official flower of Chicago, Hawaii’s jasmine, blue lilies from Africa — all symbolic of Obama’s heritage, it reminded others of something else. For many, it was reminiscent of the famous Simpson “hiding in the bush” GIF, and a few others couldn’t stop cracking punny jokes about his predecessors. Soon, it became a hit meme on Twitter. Sample these:

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