’The Obama Paintings’ — All 2,922 Of Them — Arrive In Chicago | WBEZ
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'The Obama Paintings' — All 2,922 Of Them — Arrive In Chicago

An exhibit of paintings depicting each day of Barack Obama’s two-term presidency has come to his hometown for the first time.

"The Obama Paintings" is a staggering display of 2,922 images of the former president created by New York-based artist Rob Pruitt.

Each painting follows the same aesthetic convention: a 2-by-2-foot canvas is covered by a gradient of red to blue and is overlayed with an image of Obama painted in white expressionist brushstrokes.

More than 600 of the paintings are mounted on the walls at the Stony Island Arts Bank at 6760 S. Stony Island Ave. on the South Side. The rest of the images are in open shelves for visitors to flip through and view.

“I had in mind a philosophy, which was that I wanted to reign in all of the spaces of his presidency,” said Pruitt, who created the works while Obama was in office. 

Some of nearly 3,000 images in The Obama Paintings at the Stony Island Arts Bank in Chicago.
Marley Arechiga/WBEZ
Some of nearly 3,000 images in The Obama Paintings at the Stony Island Arts Bank in Chicago.

The paintings depict moments ranging from bill signings to tender moments with former First Lady Michelle Obama and are not arranged in chronological order. The exhibit has appeared in other cities, but Pruitt said bringing it to the South Side is significant because of the Obamas’ connection to the area.

In addition to the paintings, the exhibit will include a family portrait drawing workshop, a talk with Pruitt and a screening of the film Southside With You, about the Obamas’ first date in Chicago in 1989.

The exhibit will be on display Thursday through Aug. 25, 2019.

Marley Arechiga is a news intern for WBEZ. Follow her @marleyarechiga.

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