In February, Michelle Obama’s National Portrait Gallery painting was unveiled. During her speech, the former first lady of the United States highlighted what this feat means to girls of color around the world that will stare in awe at Amy Sherald’s portrait of the Chicago native.
“I’m also thinking about all of the young people, particularly girls and girls of color, who, in years ahead, will come to this place and they will look up and they will see an image of someone who looks like them hanging on the wall of this great American institution,” Obama said.
For 2-year-old Parker Curry, she became the living embodiment of that statement when fellow museum-goer Ben Hines snapped the viral image of the young girl soaking in Obama’s portrayal.
📸 by Ben Hines, posted March 1, 2018 on @facebook: “Donna Hines & I made a pilgrimage today, and we were delighted to wait in line behind this fellow art lover & hopeful patriot.” @smithsonian pic.twitter.com/Zqmf4QLBgk
— Dionne Cowan, EdD (@DionneCspeaks) March 3, 2018
“It was so touching and uplifting for me to see this beautiful child looking at a beautiful portrait of a powerful woman,” Hines said in an interview with Buzzfeed. “I was so delighted to have been in the right place at the right time.”
The news made its way to Obama’s doorstep and the mother-of-two decided to meet with the precocious Parker to instill another set of encouraging words. They also shared a dance that assumably made the Let’s Move ambassador proud.
Parker, I’m so glad I had the chance to meet you today (and for the dance party)! Keep on dreaming big for yourself…and maybe one day I’ll proudly look up at a portrait of you! pic.twitter.com/faUVTsYWun
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) March 6, 2018
In a statement issued to The Washington Post, the Parker’s mother, Jessica Curry, said her daughter was “just so fixated on the portrait and wouldn’t turn away from it.” Now, she has another memory to save for her child as she gets older that’ll live in its own shrine at their home.