Obamas lead Americans exhibition

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A portrait of Michelle Obama by Mickalene Thomas
Image caption,
Mickalene Thomas's portrait of Michelle Obama is part of the show

President Barack Obama and wife Michelle are taking centre stage in an exhibition of leading Americans at Washington's National Portrait Gallery.

The first couple are pictured separately in Americans Now, alongside portraits of actor Tom Hanks, rapper Jay-Z, author Toni Morrison and lifestyle guru Martha Stewart.

The exhibition, which runs at the Smithsonian Institution's gallery until June, aims to celebrate "outstanding individuals in the realms of science, business, government and the arts".

Shepard Fairey's iconic "hope" image was chosen to represent President Obama, with Mickalene Thomas's depiction of his wife Michelle also on show.

Museum director Martin Sullivan said: "The National Portrait Gallery's collection tells the story of America through those who have influenced American history and culture.

"Americans Now uses portraits from our holdings to examine the impact of those people who have helped shape our country."

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