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Kareem Waris Olamilekan: The 11-year-old who sketched President Macron

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French President Emmanuel Macron (L) meets with a young boy who drew a portrait of him during a visit to the Afrika Shrine in Lagos on July 3, 2018.French President Emmanuel Macron has arrived in Abuja for a meeting with his Nigerian counterpart Muhammadu Buhari, in his latest attempt to forge closer ties with English-speaking Africa. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Ludovic MARIN


Can we meet you?
My name is Kareem Waris Olamilekan, also known as Waspa art. I am 11 years old, I am in Jss1 and I am an artist.

How did you start in this line?
I started drawing when I was 6 years old, then in school I use to draw with my friends. The drawing we are use to is super strikers, comics and newspaper or textbooks illustrations.But when I was eight years old, my ideas was elaborated when I joined an academy of Arts.

What categories are you best at?
I am good at drawing, expression painting and hyper-realism pencil art. But I always wish to be good at every aspect of art just like the old artist (Michael Angelo) am too small to major in one aspect of art, who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Can you share your feelings whenever you draw?
Whenever I draw I feel so happy. I never get tired of drawing am always happy doing it.

How was your training like; were you trained by professional?
I was trained by two professionals, the founders of an Academy of Arts. When I was eight years old I joined their Academy. I was taught how to draw professionally and how draw to level of hyper-realism, so am not self-trained I am trained and mentored by the academy.

How do you manage schooling and drawing as drawing is known to take time especially when working on major project?
Going to school and also learning work is not a easy thing, but I stay patient and focus on the future. Monday to Friday I usually wake up by 6am to prepare for school then when I come back, I go to the art academy to do some works. At times I read at night and also at times draw at night. I didn’t allow school to disturb my art life and I didn’t allow my art to disturb my school. I am one of the best in the academy of art and also the best in my class. I took 1st position first during the second term.

How do you see yourself, a company or an innocent boy with passion for drawing?
I see myself as a company

Have you ever drawn for money before/ have you been drawing for money?
I do commissioned job and I collect money.

What inspired you to draw the President of France, Emmanuel Macron?
I actually got the link from a bank in Nigeria. The bank saw my works on instagram and interview on different platform, so they decided to help me and they invited me to the event and I was told I will be drawing the France President Emmanuel Macron.

What was it like in the process of drawing the President, were you nervous or self-confident?
I was confident because that is not my first time facing crowd. My mentor used to take me to YABATECH to draw or freestyle so I use to have a lot of audience at my back. But I don’t let all their sweet words get to my head all I do is I focus on what am doing.

When you were drawing the President, did you doubt if your work would be acknowledged?
In the first place I wanted to get discouraged when I saw a lot of Emmanuel Macron painting brought by different artist. But thank God for my mentors,when they saw the doubt in my face, they told me not to be afraid and never look at their side that I will be known and noticed today. Thereafter I never doubted my work and I pray to God for my work to be acknowledged.

How did you feel before and after you were acknowledged to show your artwork of the France president?
Before the work was presented my mind was up, calculating in my mind what’s will be the next thing but after the show I really feel so excited.

How has the act of drawing the President of France added more value to your life, and who else have you met due to this art work?
It really added to me because the news actually went viral, and all an artist need is to be known worldwide.

You are a good artist, but you still look up to more established and fulfilled artists, who are they?
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.

Of course there are so many kid artists just like you. What do you feels makes your own brand stand out from others?
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.

When you see super-awesome artworks by some kids, do you feel motivated to try more or you feel lagged behind?
I feel motivated to do much better.

What drawing tools do you use for your fantastic drawings of yours?
I use charcoal and charcoal pencils on pelican paper and cartridge papers.

Were you at any point discouraged, maybe by your parents, siblings, parents, or even pressure from studies?
I was never discouraged, so I had support from my family but at times if I just want to put some of my works and sketches inside our room, my mum will say you have brought trash inside the room again. Smiles but now she’s supporting me.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I want to be more better and become a great artist , I want my works to be international and National museums. I want my works to be appreciated like Mona Lisa and Sistine chapel paintings.

What other things are you skilled at apart from drawing?
I love to drum the talking drum (Gon-Gon)

Any final words to other kids with potentials out there?
My advice is they should not relent keep working, be patient and be prayerful.


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