Seeing Art Through Sofiyyah Oluwademilade Karimu’s Lens
Discovering oneself takes a long time for some, while for others, it all starts at an early stage. For the 14-year-old Soffiyah Karimu, it is her love for art. She speaks with the Guardian Life team about her love for art, how it started and how she would love it to go.
When did you discover your passion for Art?
I developed an interest in art at a very early age. I was greatly influenced by my mum, who is also very passionate about creativity and crafts. I remember scribbling on the walls at home when I was little to express myself and using materials at my disposal to sketch images on paper.
What challenges have you been faced with as an artist?
It has been generally a positive experience for me on this art discovery journey. However, as a budding artist, my initial challenge was finding a balance between my education and artworks. Over time, I have learnt how to manage conflicting priorities and carve out time to pursue my passion for art – whilst still fully engaged in my studies and maintaining excellent performance.
What are the processes you go through while drawing and painting?
For me, it is all about the inspiration – that sets off the process of capturing my thoughts on paper and developing how I envision reflecting this thought process in my drawings/paintings. For example, I was really moved by the ‘Black Lives Matter – BLM’ movement and what it symbolises. Taking a step back, I reflected on the wider implications not just on the race conversation, but also how society can shift its behaviour towards more accepting reasoning. The next major milestone was capturing these thoughts in my drawings, which most times involve working in a quiet space fully equipped with my tools – pencils and my drawing papers/canvas. Drawing and painting help me unburden my thoughts and the outcome typically is the creation of pieces of artworks that personifies my reasoning.
Where do you see yourself in the future with your talent?
I would like to inspire others to take up creative art as a means of expressing themselves. For me, I reminisce more on the inspirational part of the process – which could be different for others. Art is beautiful and I aim to reflect this in all my endeavours.
If not art, what else do you do?
I enjoy pleasure reading, which greatly helps in broadening my general knowledge. I enjoy any books on history – from the rise and fall of empires to the African renaissance. I like my personal space and armed with a book in my hands – I am all sorted. I am learning to play the guitar and piano, and working towards being proficient in them.
How have you combined your education with art?
I have developed the ‘art’ of balancing competing priorities. For me, art is all about having a creative mindset, being able to think out of the box and exploring different ways of approaching complex problems. Put together, I have taken all these soft skills and channelled them towards my education. Art as a subject is part of my curriculum and I build my learning journey around it. My school – Prior Park College, Bath UK has a very robust and flexible curriculum that allows students to be their best – irrespective of their chosen pathways. The support and guidance provided by highly qualified and professional tutors contribute significantly to helping me juggle the many conflicting priorities and balance between my education and passion for art.
When you have a creativity block, what do you do?
When this happens, I just look for a quiet space to relax or pick up a book to read. These usually help ignite my creativity.
What is your best work so far, and why?
It’s quite difficult choosing one from my portfolio because each piece of art has its own character. I generally like my pencil drawings the most.
Do you plan to pursue being an artist to the fullest as a job or just as a passion?
For now, I hope to continue to engage with the subject – and develop more artworks (mostly pencil drawings at the moment). I am not really looking to take it as a job, but to use it as the source of my inspiration to drive my career. So, to answer your question simply – I would say it stays as a passion, at least for now.
How have your parent, background and education influenced you?
My parents have been very supportive of my passion and education in general. That helped and motivated me. Growing up in an environment that fostered self-discovery and the development of interest in art also played a significant part in influencing me.