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Presidential Portraits by Kehinde Wiley, This Time from Africa                               

For a new exhibition in Paris, the artist Kehinde Wiley, widely known for his portrait of President Obama, has created a series of paintings of African presidents. Called ‘A Maze of Power,’ the series is intended to look at African leadership through a different lens. The exhibition at the Musée du Quai Branly — Jacques Chirac in Paris, opens as anti-French sentiment is sweeping across Africa’s Sahel, where presidents deemed as being too close to their former French colonial overlords have been ousted in coups. One president in Wiley’s exhibition, Alpha Condé of Guinea, was himself removed in a coup in 2021. Another subject, Olusegun Obasanjo, first became Nigeria’s leader after a military coup in the 1970s but later was democratically elected as president. Some of Mr. Wiley’s subjects may raise eyebrows for their human rights track records; Mr. Obansanjo and Mr. Condé, as well as other subjects of the paintings, presided over violent crackdowns on demonstrators in their respective countries.