Essay on The Done By Artist Kehinde Wiley

Essay on The Done By Artist Kehinde Wiley

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The two paintings to be discussed are both done by artist Kehinde Wiley. Wiley grew up in the era of the civil rights movement, and he uses his understanding to depict young black men as courageous and powerful (Solomon). This is often the opposite of how black men are perceived in society. He brings attention to political issues that are a reflection of historical events and stereotypes of young black men (Solomon). While the subjects in Wiley’s pieces are very different personas, both paintings portray Wiley’s message that strong black men are a positive part of society.
Artist Kehinde Wiley’s piece titled Anthony of Padua, is a 6 foot by 5 foot oil on canvas. It is a representation of the catholic saint Anthony of Padua. This piece is of a young African American man who appears to be a member of the Black Panther party during the period of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s in America. Wiley uses the secondary color, orange, that is of high intensity with low intensity blue and white flowers in the background to draw the viewer’s attention to the young man centered in the painting. He uses implied curved lines of the organic shaped flowers to lead the viewer’s eyes around the man. Soft implied lines on the jacket and pants are used to show the soft edges of the clothes. The vibrant colors and floral background evoke popular themes from the late 60’s and early 70’s. One of the main events from this time period was the rise of the Black Panther Party. The vibrant colors expressed illustrates power, boldness, and strength. In addition, the floral elements are pleasing to the eye and depict life and growth. The Black Panther movement championed the strength of blacks and the viability or worth of the people. These colors depicted in...


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Overall, Wiley uses high and low intensity hues to draw attention towards the young African American men who are represented as sacred figures. While both pieces relate to the Black Panther Party during the late 60’s and early 70’s, the subjects of both paintings are vastly different. However, Wiley portrays a more positive feeling towards young African American men by using the representation of sacred figures. Personally, I believe it was effective to use the variety of hues and patterns in the background of each painting to tell what time period he was referring to. In addition, Wiley did an excellent job conveying the message that African Americans are of worth in today’s society by incorporating sacred figures with the African American men in everyday street clothes. This allowed the viewer to think more in depth about the message Wiley was trying to deliver.

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