Kehinde Wiley, you made my Labor Day

Labor Day Weekend 2016 has (sadly) come to an end. (But I refuse to say goodbye to summer because the temperature is still in the 90s.)

This year turned out to be a pretty relaxing LDW (after the part where I endured a pretty grueling final exam for cardio, of course). I mainly hung out around the house, tidying up/organizing/decorating. But everything changed when I came across an email about an upcoming discussion about artist Kehinde Wiley! I’ve admired his work for a while, because I love how he creates incredible, colorful portraits of people of color that are inspired by historical works of art. (If you want a better summary of his life and his work (trust me, you do), check this out.)

So naturally, when I realized that his exhibit, “A New Republic” was on display at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art in Richmond, I had to go. I recruited my best friend Michaela (also a huge Wiley fan) to come with me, and we spent our day off from class flourishing away in Richmond.

I was super excited for this exhibit and I can say that I was not disappointed. Wiley’s work is infinitely more beautiful in person, when you can really appreciate how detailed and (how massive) every painting truly is. I really was in awe of all of his work. I couldn’t even pick a favorite painting.

“A New Republic” also included some of Wiley’s sculptures and stained glass pieces, which were new to me because I had only heard of his paintings. But these works, especially the stained glass, were just as awe-inspiring as the large-scale portraits. Clearly, this man is talented.


Painting is about the world we live in. Black people live in the world. My choice is to include them. This is my way of saying yes to us.

-Kehinde Wiley


Bottom line: If any of you ever have the chance to see Kehinde Wiley’s work in person, please please please go! You won’t regret it.


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