Art

This 11-year-old artist’s hyper-realistic portraits stun audiences in Nigeria and beyond

July 12, 2018

It truly warms our hearts to see extremely talented Black kids getting the kind of attention they deserve in an age where “going viral” and profiting off it is reserved for yodeling white kids you can “cash” outside. How bout that… Recently, the internet gifted us with 11-year-old Nigerian artist Waris Kareem who creates hyper-realistic portraits in his make-shift studio in a poor neighborhood in Lagos.


Kareem started drawing when he was just six years old, honing his craft so well that by the time he turned eight, he was the youngest professional artist in Nigeria. Growing up with little has endowed Kareem with a maturity that you wouldn’t expect from a boy his age. His wisdom shines through when he speaks about his art and how it contains symbols that speak to his surroundings and the society he grew up in. Kareem uses details in his art to depict the trials faced by the people around him, providing social commentary imbued in his hyper-realistic style.

“The sweat symbolizes hard work and struggling, and the spoon symbolizes food. Everybody in my society has little now. On my streets, they struggle. They sweat for their eats.” – Waris Kareem


It would be nice to live in a world where children weren’t exposed to circumstances that curtail their childhood, which is why we should celebrate this young king, not for growing up faster than the norm, but for using his talents to highlight the struggles he witnesses in his immediate vicinity.

Perhaps the Beyoncé and Jay Z of tomorrow will be performing in front his work sitting in the Louvre.

Am back on instagram. Pencil art #hyperrealism #waspa …It’s in me

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@realdonaldduke

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