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Kareem Waris: The Art Revelation

Kareem Waris gained international recognition after he gifted Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, a drawing that took him only two hours to produce. An intelligent and aspiring 11-year-old told Guardian Life that he started drawing when he was six.

Propelled by the desire to become an exceptional artist, Waris drew even when he was not involved in a project.


Adewole Adeniyi, the co-founder of AyoWole Academy, remembers his first meeting with Wasiu vividly: “We set a still life composition for our students to draw. Waris stood at a corner and participated with them when my sister noticed him and saw his drawing. She brought the drawing to me, and we signed him up.”

Waris presenting his painting to Macron. Photo: AFP

Since then, Waris has graduated from tracing to drawing professionally with freedom lines (drawing without an eraser).

Although the work that brought him international acclaim was his gift to Macron, his hyperrealist works, Daily Bread and Love of Mother, captured the interest of the public. Taking a look at his drawings, one can deduce that his works reflect his environment. He, however, says it is more than that; he gets most of his inspiration from his family.

Despite his superman genius at creating Macron’s gift, Waris says that it usually takes him “a week to make a realist work but, if it’s hyper-realism, it takes me more than one month.”

Mothers Love. Photo: AyoWol Academy of Arts

The hyperrealist says that his actual dream is to be an impressionist and an expressionist. He states proudly, “I want to be like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.” Waris, however, believes that getting a grip on the major facets of art will help him improve his future.

On how he is able to create and generate funds from his talent, he says that, although he has only sold one artwork since he started, he is fortunate to get support from people even without doing any work. Other times, he raises money from commissioned works. Not to be deterred, Wole says there is an exhibition in the works. “We are planning an exhibition for him where he can sell his artworks. He sold his artwork for the first time last month. That, to me, is a good step.”

Daily Bread. Photo: Ayowole Academy of Arts

With his new fame, it is easy to conclude that schooling might be difficult to attain but this is not the case. A dedicated and highly intellectual student, he emerged in the first position throughout JSS 1 terms in his school.

He would love to be an Engineer someday if he does not fully take on his art, and his reason is creatively justified. “I want to be able to create machines that people can use.”

We asked if we should expect something remarkable from him. “Very soon, you will be seeing some of his sculptural pieces,” his manager concluded.

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