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Gallery gets iconic Obama image

8 January 09 10:27 GMT

The iconic red, white and blue portrait of US President-elect Barack Obama will become part of the permanent collection at the US National Portrait Gallery.

The Washington DC gallery has acquired the stencilled image by Los Angeles-based street artist Shepard Fairey.

Curators at the Smithsonian Institution museum plan to hang it by Inauguration Day on 20 January.

The gallery usually acquires official portraits of presidents as they are leaving office.

An official portrait of Mr Obama will be added later, and a portrait of President George W Bush was unveiled at the gallery in December.

Fairey's mixed-media work depicts Mr Obama with the word Hope.

The image - later modified with the messages of Change and Vote - became one of the most memorable images from the 2008 election.

It appeared on thousands of stickers, posters and T-shirts across the country.

"What I think is so fascinating is the ubiquitous nature," said Carolyn Carr, deputy director of the Portrait Gallery.

"When people think of a portrait of Obama, they think of this image."

Fairey's works are also in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

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