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11-year-old artist becomes a sensation in Nigeria

From a makeshift studio in a poor neighborhood in Lagos, Waris Kareem produces incredibly life-like works of art.

Waris began drawing at the age six and turned professional at the age of eight, becoming the youngest professional artist in Nigeria. He describes his art genre as “hyper-realism.” His drawings pay great attention and emphasis even the minutest of details.

“I try to focus on it to get the detail in the picture and in the artwork too. And in the artwork was painting. And in the picture will be in the artwork that anybody sees it, possibly symbolize photo,” said Waris Kareem, adding that anybody has no patience can’t do hyper-realism artwork.

His works are not only special for their aesthetics, but also have deep meanings as well, tapping into the daily happenings in his environment and even drawing from his own personal experience. A good example is his work titled, “Daily Bread.”

“The inspiration behind it is that something going on around me, especially my family. The sweat on it symbolizes hard work and struggling. And the spoon symbolizes food. Everybody in my society has little now, or my streets, they struggle, struggle, they sweat for their eats,” he said.

Despite going professional, Waris is still fine-tuning his skills at this makeshift art studio in this obscure neighborhood of Lagos.

It is an open veranda that Adeniyi Adewole, a graduate general arts student, has converted into an art academy where he teaches young people like Waris how to draw and perfect their art skills. He says Waris is one of his students that he thinks is the most gifted.

“He can go far, farther than even beyond our expectations because I believe with what he has been doing, he’s going somewhere greater. We used to tell him don’t see yourself like a roadside artist. Believe you can have a name like Michelangelo, like Davinci,” said Adewole.

Waris said he wants to be a great artist known around the world and hopes that his works will be displayed in international museums. That may sound like a dream for now, but the11-year old art genius knows where he is going and is certainly taking the right steps to reach that path of international acclaim.

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