Ethiopian Artist Awol Erizku is the man behind Beyonce’s pregnancy photo

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Artist Awol Erizku is the man behind Beyoncé’s pregnancy photo. (Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for 42West)

Ethiopia born Awol Erizku is the man behind Instagram’s most-popular photo ever, Beyoncé’s pregnancy picture, which the singer shared to her official account Wednesday to announce she’s pregnant with twins. Within hours of Beyoncé releasing the image, it shattered the record for the most-liked image in the site’s history.

Erizku, a 28-year-old New York-based artist, has yet to come forward as the person behind the captivating portrait, but ARTnews was able to confirm his involvement. The photo has been liked more than 8 million times in less than 24 hours.

Awol Erizku was born in Ethiopia but grew up in New York. According to BBC, he graduated from Yale University with a masters in fine art.

In the first 45 minutes after it was posted, it had generated half a million tweets, topping out at 17,000 a minute. There have been, at the time of writing, at least 2,679 (now 2,680) news articles cumulatively written in less than a day about it — 840 of those written within an hour of its appearance, at 1:39 p.m. ET.

It’s not exactly known when the photographer first linked up with Beyoncé and Jay Z, but he has done work with them in the past.

Primarily a photographer (though he also paints, sculpts, and makes short films), Erizku graduated from Yale’s M.F.A. program in 2014, has had his work shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and has developed strong ties to the entertainment world, collaborating with rapper ASAP Rocky and photographing Viola Davis for The New Yorker.

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