DC Commissioned Artist

Kehinde Wiley

Rumors of War II/ Sankofa Park


Kehinde Wiley was born in Los Angeles in 1977, grew up in South Central—where he was steeped in the hip-hip and low-rider culture along Crenshaw Boulevard—and was selected at age 17 to participate in the Metro Young Artists program. Best known for his portraits that render people of color in the traditional settings of Old Master paintings, he works in the mediums of painting, sculpture and video to bring art history face-to-face with contemporary culture and celebrate Black and brown people he has met throughout the world.

DC Featured Art

"Rumors of War II"

Rendering of “Rumors of War II” at Sankofa Park by Perkins & Will
In 2018, President Barack Obama selected Wiley to paint his official U.S. Presidential portrait forthe Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, making him the first Black painter so honored. In 2019, Wiley founded Black Rock Senegal, a multidisciplinary artist-in-residence program that invites artists from around the world to live and create work in Dakar, Senegal. Wiley is the recipient of the U.S. Department of State’s Medal of Arts, Harvard University’s W. E. B. Du Bois Medal and France’s Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters.
A graduate of the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, he holds a BFA from San Francisco Art Institute, an MFA from Yale University and honorary doctorates from the Rhode Island School of Design and San Francisco Art Institute. He has had solo exhibitions throughout the United States and internationally, and his works are included in the collections of more than 50 public institutions around the world. He lives and works in Beijing, Dakar and New York.

Other Works