WASHINGTON — Two-year-old Parker Curry was so awestruck by the towering portrait of Michelle Obama that every time her mother would try to get her to turn around to take a picture, she would not stop staring at it.
“Parker was in front on the portrait, and I really wanted her to turn around so I could get a picture with her, and she genuinely, honestly would not turn around,” her mother, Jessica Curry, a small business owner from Washington DC, told CNN on Saturday. “She was uncooperative with me because she was just so focused on the portrait and studying it, and she was just so fascinated.”
The image of little Parker was captured by Ben Hines of North Carolina, who took a trip to the National Portrait Galley with his mother Donna, when he spotted a little girl in a pink coat entranced by the dramatic image of the former first lady. He posted the picture on his Facebook page and it quickly went viral.
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Feeling all the feels. 😭 When I look at this picture I think back to my first field trip in elementary school to a museum. I had only seen paintings in encyclopedias up to that point in my life. There was a show up of work by painter @thebobartlett whose work still inspires me to this day. There was a painting of a black man standing in front of a house. I don't remember a lot about my childhood, but I do have a few emotional memories etched into my mind forever and seeing that painting of a man that looked like he could be my father stopped me dead in my tracks. This was my first time seeing real paintings that weren't in a book and also weren't painted in another century. I didn't realize that none of them had me in them until I saw that painting of Bo's. I knew I wanted to be an artist already, but seeing that painting made me realize that I could. What dreams may come? #representationmatters
Sherald, an African-American artist based in Baltimore, is known for her themes of social justice.
BuzzFeed first reported the photo. Parker’s mother first saw the image when some of her friends sent her screen shots after seeing it on Twitter.
“In further discussion with (Parker) yesterday and today, I realized that she believes Michelle Obama is a queen, and she wants to be a queen as well …,” Curry said. “As a female and as a girl of color, It’s really important that I show her people who look like her that are doing amazing things and are making history so that she knows she can do it.”
Curry added that her youngest daughter Ava, who is only 1 year old, was also “totally into the artwork.”
The official portraits of former President Barack Obama and the former first lady were unveiled last month.
“(Girls and girls of color) will see an image of someone who looks like them hanging on the walls of this great American institution. … And I know the kind of impact that will have on their lives because I was one of those girls,” the former first lady said at the official unveiling.
For his portrait, the former president chose Kehinde Wiley, who is famous for his depiction of African Americans posed in the style of Old Master paintings with pops of color.