Kehinde Wiley: Artist's modern twist to Old Masters' portraits


Kehinde Wiley grew up on the violent streets of South Central in Los Angeles in the 1980s.

When he was 11 years old, his mother sent him to art school where he learned to paint and immersed himself in art history as an escape from the reality in his neighbourhood.

Today, Wiley is known for his portraits based on photographs of young African-American men whom he has approached on the street.

Dressed in street clothes, his models are asked to assume poses from the paintings of Old Masters including Reynolds, Gainsborough and Titian.

The BBC spoke to him about what his modern take on old classics says about the image and status of contemporary black men in America.

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First Person

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