Emmanuel Macron amazed by the talent of a young Nigerian. During his visit to Nigeria, the French president received his portrait drawn by a very small professional artist of 11 years, who dreams of becoming Michelangelo. The scene was set in the legendary Lagos club, New Africa Shrine, founded by Afrobeat’s father, Fela Kuti. The French president was handed, on the sidelines of the official launch of the Season of African cultures planned in 2020 in France, a portrait made by a young Nigerian 11 years old.
A work by Kareem Waris Olamilekan that positively surprises Emmanuel Macron. Eleven years and he is in the limelight. He has been painting since the age of six and is a specialist in hyperrealist pencil drawings. He lives in a poor area of Lagos. At his age, this young professional artist who calls himself Waspa is very well known in his country. Its popularity now exceeds the borders of Nigeria.
Self-taught, Kareem Waris Olamilekan has been attending the Ayowole Art Vocational Academy since the age of 8. Despite his youth, he does not hide his ambitions.
“I draw my friends, comics. I draw illustrations from books and newspapers. I do hyperrealist drawing in pencil. I find my inspiration around me, especially with my family. I want to become like Arinze and Michelangelo. I want to be in the museums among the great artists. My best work is Daily Bread, because of its title. He shows sweat and tears.Me and my family work hard to get bread, to eat. That’s what inspires me, “he says in an interview with the BBC.
His teacher Adeniyi Adewole remains very optimistic about the future of the little prodigy. Kareem “will be able to go far, far beyond our own expectations, with what he does will rise very high,” he says.
On social networks, the Nigerian painter has a certain popularity which gives him a fairly strong visibility. On his Instagram account, Waspa Art, Kareem Waris Olamilekan shares his creations and his work with nearly 40,000 subscribers. “Art is my vocation, it’s in me. I draw, I paint, I create. “