French President Emmanuel Macron arrived at the Fela Kuti’s New Africa Shrine in Lagos, Nigeria, with the goal to motivate young Nigerians to engage in activism and get involved with politics. While Macron’s message and appearance at the event was significant, the world is talking about an 11-year old boy who attended the event instead. Kareem Waris Olamilekan, a Lagos native, is making waves around the world for his exceptional artwork, which includes a portrait that was completed in just two hours of Macron that was presented to the French president at the New Afrika Shrine event.
11-year-old Nigerian artist Kareem Waris Olamilekan continues to captivate the world. The young prodigy drew a remarkable portrait of French President Emmanuel Macron in just 2 hours while the president visited Fela Kuti’s New Africa Shrine In Lagos, Nigeria.
pic.twitter.com/PHqc51ClaA — Atlanta Black Star (@ATLBlackStar) July 9, 2018
Olamilekan began drawing at six, and by the time he was eight, he became Nigeria’s youngest professional artist, according to The Hub News. He describes his work as hyperrealistic drawing, an art form that recreates humans through paintings and drawings that look remarkably lifelike.
Working out of the Ayowole Academy of Art, an art studio in Lagos, Olamilekan primarily uses a pencil to create art, and draw people and things that are close to him.
“I draw my friends, cartoons, comics, illustrations from textbooks and newspapers,” the 11-year old prodigy stated.
While Olamilekan, who says Michaelangelo and Nigerian artist Arinze Stanley Egbengwu are his biggest influences, has recently gained recognition due to his painting of Macron, he says his best work is a portrait called “Daily Bread.”
The piece depicts a young child eating from a spoon with sweat dripping down his face. The boy says the sweat symbolizes hard work and struggling. While the spoon symbolizes food, which people in his society struggle to obtain.
“My family, we work hard before we put food in our mouths, before we eat,” Olamilekan said. “That is what inspires me”
The talented 11 year-old’s artistic prowess has also impressed Adeniyi Adewole, who owns the studio the young boy works in.
“He can go far, farther than even beyond our expectations because I believe with what he has been doing, he’s going somewhere greater,” Adewole said in an interview with India’s DD News. “We used to tell him don’t see yourself like a roadside artist. Believe you can have a name like Michelangelo, like [Leonardo] da Vinci.”
Olamilekan believes he is on track to being one of the world’s best artists, stating that he wants to see himself and artwork among the great artists in museums.