Assessing The Current State Of The Union Through Contemporary Painting

Assessing The Current State Of The Union Through Contemporary Painting

African-American Artist, Kehinde Wiley takes a unique approach to a presidential portrait

Monday morning Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of former president Barack Obama was unveiled at The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. Wiley is a native of New York who has focused most of his work on African-Americans in highly naturalistic depictions.

Wiley depicts Obama in a seated position with facial expressions that echo the pages of a fashion spread. The popular seated pose that Obama is depicted in can be seen similar to the 1805 painting of Thomas Jefferson by Gilbert Stuart.

These seated choices since the beginning of presidential paintings have revealed a no-frills character. One could also argue that the seat position reveals a “for the people” persona that contrasts the standing portrait style that past presidents like George Washington have been depicted in. While the viewer may first look upon Obama as the subject, the real importance seems to come from the environment that Obama exists in. The plants that surround Obama are not only a contrasting location due to their placement but in addition, the nature of plants on their own.

Plants, unlike most of the settings in presidential paintings, are ever-changing aspects of society that die, re-blossom and so forth. The changing nature of plants seems to speak to the changing nature of our political atmosphere. While comparing this portrait of Obama to Wiley’s former work, one would see his likeness to floral backgrounds and diverse array of colors compounded with photorealism.

Yet while the perching flowers behind Obama seem to be obstructed due to his chair, it is his presence that is actually being obstructed. Floral background and Obama seem to read more so as a collage than a painting. This discourse in Obama sitting and the background seems to speak to his eight years in office and where we sit in our current political atmosphere. Similar to the growth of plants we do not have as much control in change that we see.

The American Psychological Association’s survey on stress in American reports that 72 percent of Democrats have said their stress has sourced from the outcome of the election, while 59 percent of Republicans have said that their stress stems the anticipation of the political future.

As a millennial, most of my counterparts receive their news on their phones, but in a way is Wiley speaking to emotional vulnerability of our society?

Regardless of party association, the potential and unknown direction of the flowers connect to the unknown and apprehensive steps we take as a society while the seated nature of Obama can be seen as this level of uncertainty that a man who was the leader of our country slowly gets shadowed and unseen by this chaos but with him things that we know.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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Lil Yachty's 'Lil Boat 2' May Not Be Enough To Keep Him Afloat

Here's what you need to know about "Lil Boat 2."

On March 9, Lil Yachty dropped his newest album, “Lil Boat 2.” The album consists of 17 songs, most of which were probably better off not being on the album and seriously failed to impress me, despite its early success on iTunes.

In all of the reviews I have ever written, I normally organize it song-by-song, giving feedback to each track. This time, however, I think I can save all of us time on this article by just being completely honest about Lil Yachty’s “Lil Boat 2.”

Most of the songs from 1-10 on the tracklist are NOT worth listening to.

Other than those three, every other song from the top ten songs on the tracklist were absolute garbage.

The beats to the songs weren’t that bad but, overall, it just sounded like Lil Yachty and his features were WAY too high to be in the studio.

Yachty’s flows, bars and rhyme schemes were ALL weak throughout the entire album, and if it weren’t for the final six songs on “Lil Boat 2,” this review would be nothing but bashing Lil Yachty.

From the 12th track on the album, "MICKEY" (ft. Offset, Lil Baby) the album runs through much more smoothly, regardless of how basic those last couple of songs are.

I imagine Lil Yachty’s fanbase consists mostly of teenagers who eat Tide for Internet views and anybody who knows nothing about what a real rapper is.

Seriously. I cannot stress how elementary this album is. If you’re looking for new rap music to listen to, check out Tory Lanez’s album, “MEMORIES DON’T DIE,” or Logic’s “Bobby Tarantino II.”

Both of those albums are so much better than “Lil Boat 2” that they make Yachty look like an amateur — which he is.

Final Score: 5.8/10
Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Did Draco Malfoy Ever Get The Clout He Deserved?

Yes, he was literally the worst for a majority of the series. But does this one moment make up for it all?

The new trailer for the “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” series just dropped and I have a LOT of feelings. Mainly:

With the release of this new trailer, the only natural thing to do is to binge watch the "Harry Potter" series. Now, if you don’t know about "Harry Potter" series, I’m going to assume that you were born literally minutes ago. For those of you who do know what I’m talking about, let’s chat.

Throughout the series, we see some pretty rotten witches, wizards and muggles. The worst being Bellatrix LeStrange, in my opinion.

*Side note: Voldemort killed meticulously and with his own “reasoning” that supported his actions. Bellatrix killed for sport. No reason was necessary to support her choices. Regardless of who I thought was worse, it doesn’t change the fact that they were both 100% assholes.*

Throughout the movie, and even more so throughout the book, we are able to see slight character arcs for a majority of these lesser-evil villains, such as Petunia Dursley, Narcissa Malloy, Snape, and Draco Malfoy.

After Snape, Draco had one of the biggest character arcs in the series. He saved Harry and, ultimately, through his actions, gave Harry one last chance to defeat Voldemort. How? Well, Pottermore explains it best, but to put it simply, he refused to give Harry, Ron, and Hermione up to Bellatrix and the Snatchers.

This moment is so pivotal and apparent in the books, yet on screen, while it’s still a huge moment, it still gets downplayed. The weight of the moment isn’t truly felt and could be taken as more of a mistake on Malfoy’s part. That moment, if not understood correctly, could change many viewers' opinions about Draco's transformation from elitist, bigot, selfish snob to a (slightly) unknowingly ignorant, scared, defeated teen.

Damnit, J.K. Rowling, you’ve done it again. Even after all these years, somehow I still always seem to find something new.

Now let’s talk about how the new movie will allow the Ministry to apparate onto Hogwarts?!

Cover Image Credit: Review Me Twice

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