Kareem Waris Olamilekan, an 11-year-old Nigerian hyper-realistic artist became an international sensation after making a sketch of French President, Emmanuel Macron under two hours on July 2018. However, the Nigerian hyper-realistic artist is on the news again for winning the Taiwan 22nd Fervent Global Love of Lives Award. Olamilekan beat over 2,700 other international candidates recommended for the global prize.
Announcing the winner was Vincent Yang, the Representative of Taiwan in Nigeria. Yang noted that the Nigerian hyper-realistic artist would meet the president of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen. Consequently, he was hosted by the Head of Taipei Trade Office in Nigeria. Speaking about Olamilekan’s victory Yang said,
“Famous Nigerian Internet Bitty Artist – Waris Olamilekan Kareem stood out among 2,723 recommended candidates from all over the world earning the `22nd Fervent Global Love of Lives Award 2019’ from Taiwan’s Chou Ta-Kuan Cultural and Educational Foundation. He sketched a stunning portrait of French President, Emmanuel Macron, on the spot in just two hours, which amazed the global media. He has now become a famous internet artist.’’
About the Fervent Global Love of Lives Award
The prize was founded in 1997 under Chou Ta-Kuan Cultural and Educational Foundation. Consequently, every year they invite organizations, institutions and schools to recommend candidates who are bravely fighting life’s odds. Also, the prize believes that ‘Everyone is Good at Something’. Yang commented on Olamilekan’s poor background and how he is a source of inspiration to other children.
“The poverty-stricken children all call him the little artist Robin Hood. He uses his drawing talent to produce beautiful works in exchange for some food to fight hunger and also to feed the hungry companions in the slum.”
This is one of the biggest prize for creativity in Taiwan. Consequently, a lot of people refer to the prize as ‘the Nobel Prize of Life’.
The growth of Nigerian hyper-realistic artists
With the growth in social media, Nigerians started to take notice of the realistic oil of charcoal paintings. However, this heightened in 2016 with more artists adopting this style of art. A few months ago, a young Nigerian hyper-realistic artist, Eli Waduba, made a drawing of Kevin Hart and was able to use Twitter to draw the attention of the artist to the painting.
Olamilekan may not be on the list of the top 5 Nigerian hyper-realistic artists but at his age, he is definitely a talent to watch. He uses charcoal and pencil to as a medium of choice. The young artist hopes to use his drawing to change the African narrative.
“The works of Michelangelo motivate him. However, his goal is to surpass the standard set by the great artist. He intends to use drawings to depict Africa vividly and flip a new life to change Africa.”