Discuss the roles of an artist that Kehinde Wiley fills.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of the largest roles that Wiley fills is the one that stresses how art and social transformation go hand in hand.  Wiley is not one that feels that art is meant to be separate from the social conditions that give rise to it.  For this reason, Wiley's subjects are real world people that he has encountered and represents the concept of modern African- American masculinity captured in Classical painting style.  Wiley has been able to provide a glimpse into how men of color, in particular African- American males, can be viewed.  This is in stark contrast to the stereotype which does not link African- American males to classical European style of art.  Wiley believes that his art is meant to make a clear statement between what is presents in society and what can be possible in it.  It is this transformative nature of art that sees Wiley fulfill the notion of art as being a vehicle for social change.  In the subject manner, style, and intent behind his works, Wiley believes that the artist can be representative of social activism and change.

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