Another feather has been added to the cap of one of Nigeria’s youngest and celebrated artists, Kareem Waris, as he emerged the recipient of Taiwan’s Chou Ta-Kuan Cultural and Educational Foundation 22nd Fervent Global Love of Lives Award for 2019. Waris was chosen out of 2,723 other candidates recommended across the world.
Kareem Waris came to international limelight after his hyper-realistic pencil portrait of French President, Emmanuel Macron at the African Shrine in Lagos in July 2018.. He is one of the youngest members of a fast-growing community of artists in Lagos, Nigeria who use hyper-realistic charcoal and pencil paintings to mirror African issues vividly.
Waris is neither the first hyper-realism artist nor child-artist in Nigeria but he has gained recognition because his style of art is what artists describe as “painstaking” and “demanding” for a child to undertake. His style of art is one that produces a hand-drawn image with semblance to a high resolution picture.
“What makes my own stand out is because I make my own hyper-realism, if you are not very patience, you can’t do it, so I take my time to do all my works,” he said in a recent interview.
The 11-year old child prodigy recalled how the journey started in an interview with the BBC.
“I started drawing at the age of six years old at school. I draw my friends, I draw cartoons, comics. I draw illustrations from textbooks and newspapers,” he told BBC News.
Waris hopes to see himself “among great artists in museums”.
The 11-year-old prodigy added, “I still look forward to Michael Angelo’s works, Leonardo da Vinci’s works and in Nigeria I look up to Stanley Arinze, he is also an hyper-realism artist.”
Waris, also known as Waspa Arts, calls himself the bitty artist but the messages his works wield are many things but small. In another interview, he explained the idea behind what he described as his favourite work, “Daily Bread”.
“The inspiration behind it is that something going on around me, especially my family. The sweat on it symbolizes food. Everybody in my society has little now, on my streets, they struggle, struggle, they sweat for their eats,” he told DD News Channel.
For the honour, Warris attended a charity event in Tapei in company with other winners between September 21 and 28 where he reportedly met with the Taiwanese President, Mr. Thai Ing-wen.
The young artist is a beneficiary of a scholarship and an apartment for him and his family by the immediate-past administration in Lagos State, under Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
- Yinka Akanbi