If a picture is worth a thousand words, the image of an open-mouthed 2-year-old girl gazing at the official portrait of Michelle Obama is priceless, as multiple sources are reporting.
Although many are vying for the moment to see Michelle Obama’s portrait up close at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C., another related image is garnering a sizable amount of buzz of its own. And, according to a KTLA report, the photographer was in the right place and at the right time.
The larger-than-life portrait of Michelle Obama dwarfed Parker Curry. The diminutive toddler accompanied her mother to the museum last week and was captivated by the image of the former first lady.
As Parker stood next to the recently unveiled painting, her mother, Jessica Curry, wanted to capture the moment with a photograph. The only trouble was, the little girl was awestruck by the image of Mrs. Obama and wouldn’t turn around and say, “cheese,” as Mrs. Curry explained.
“Parker was in front of 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. She was uncooperative with me because she was just so focused on the portrait and studying it, and she was just so fascinated.”
Ben Hines, a resident of North Carolina, and his mother noticed the mesmerized girl staring at Michelle’s portrait. He immediately snapped an image of Parker and posted it on his social media account. It didn’t take long for the post to go viral, as many were touched by the precious moment and shared what it meant to them on personal levels.
“Wow. I had a moment when I saw this. A picture can say a thousand words. Thank you for sharing this beautiful moment,” one person wrote.
Reportedly, one of the many respondents was Mrs. Obama, who was touched by the image of the girl’s response to her portrait. Amy Sherald, the artist commissioned by Michelle Obama for the painting, posted the image to her Instagram account. Mrs. Obama noticed it and responded with a string of smiley-faced, heart-eyed emojis, according to CNN.
Locals know Sherald, who hails from Baltimore, Maryland, as an artist turned social activist, who uses paintbrushes and palettes to fight social injustice. Sherald was relatively unknown, despite her prolific body of work, but she became an overnight celebrity after Michelle Obama tapped her for the official portrait.
Many describe the 2016 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition grand prizewinner as an “old soul” who rocks a mean pair of glasses, “good hair” and skinny jeans.
Some in the public expressed confusion about Sherald’s rendering of the former first lady over it reportedly not favoring Michelle in some respects. At the unveiling last month, Obama said the image was less about her than it was about women of color and the doors that opened up with the election of her husband as the first African American president.
“(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.” A writer with Teen Vogue (via Yahoo News) said the image of Parker staring at the portrait of Michelle Obama “is why representation matters.”
Parker’s mom echoed Obama’s sentiments about the deeper meaning of the portrait and its impact on American minority girls.
“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. 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.”