"This is something that, as artists, we constantly deal with-throwing away the past, slaying the father, and creating the new".
The portraits at the Chinatown gallery are one of two pairs made for former presidents and first ladies-the other set resides at the White House, which is not as publicly accessible.
Barack and Michelle Obama have officially selected the artists who will be painting their formal portraits for the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery - and their choices are both exciting and historical.
The portraits will be unveiled next year by the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. Sherald received her MFA in painting from Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore.
Sherald won first place in the gallery's 2016 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition for her 2013 work, "Miss Everything (Unsuppressed Deliverance)".
She added: "Both have achieved enormous success as artists, but even more, they make art that reflects the power and potential of portraiture in the 21st century".
The Smithsonian began commissioning the presidential portraits in the 1990s with George H.W. Bush.
The Obamas may no longer be in the White House, but their official portraits are soon to live there forever.
The Portrait Gallery is continuing to raise private funds for the two commissioned portraits, the unveiling event, educational programs and an enhanced website.
President Obama requested his portrait be painted by 40-year-old Wiley, who is from NY.
The Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery tells the multifaceted story of America through the individuals who have shaped its culture.