Obama Portrait Artist Kehinde Wiley Does The Honors
As part of the 40th anniversary celebration at MTV, the network has revealed its new-look Moon Person trophy. Artist Kehinde Wiley – whose presidential portrait of Barack Obama resides in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery — is the creator of the statuette that winners will receive at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards on September 12. The Moon Person is adorned with flowers and green vines “flowing up and around the figure’s legs, body, and arms as a commentary on the ethnic histories that surround America,” MTV said of the design. “Each intertwined vine or leaf has a different historical relevance, such as the seeds from African slaves, that are woven into the American tapestry.” Wiley is the third artist to put a spin on the Moon Person – as its been dubbed in recent years to remove the implication of gender from its name – and is intended to signal a cultural shift in support of equality and representation. It follows KAWS’’version in 2013 and fashion designer Jeremy Scott’s take in 2015. MTV premiered at 12:01am on August 1st, 1981 with footage of NASA’s Apollo 11 mission.