Thursday 12 July 2018

President Macron's 11-year-old portrait artist, Olamilekan, gets Gov Ambode's support for education

Young artist, 11-year-old Waris Olamilekan Kareem (centre) and his Parents, Mr Mutiu and Mrs Zainab Kareem during a visit to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode (2nd from right) at the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, on Thursday, July 12, 2018.

Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Thursday, promised to support the education of an 11-year-old hyperrealist artist, Kareem Waris Olamilekan. The young artist was uncovered when he rendered what has been described as live drawing portrait of French President, Emmanuel Macron "in just two hours" during the latter's visit to the new Afrika Shrine in Lagos.

A report posted on  Lagos State website few hours ago stated that Ambode, who hosted the artist, his parents, teachers and instructor, promised to give him educational support, as well as help nurture his talent. Olamilekan's instructor, Adeniyi Adewole Wasiu, who runs Ayowole Academy of Arts, where he trains young artists, will also benefit from the governor's support, it was reported.

“Before painting President Macron and presenting the portrait to him, Waris had become a household name thanks to the special story done by a media house," Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr Steve Ayorinde told journalists after the Governor hosted the artist at Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja. “So, the Governor has invited Waris and his parents to come and meet him and because the Governor is interested in his education and if you like the welfare of his parents, His Excellency has promised to assist just like he did to the Footprint of David boys who had a special performance at the State House during the Children’s Day.

Ayorinde noted that "Waris is a product of a public school", which makes government more interested in his studies. "The Governor has also acknowledged the contribution of Waris’ mentor, Adewole who is here and because he also has a Arts Academy that inspired and produced Waris, His Excellency the Governor thinks that that Arts Academy should flourish and he is going to also support him, his career and what he is doing,” Ayorinde said. “The Ministry of education has been involved from day one since the story was reported but our Ministry (Tourism, Arts and Culture) would also be monitoring Waris. He is already in JSS1; he is talented as an artist but then that is not the only subject that he would be taking.
 “We want him to be a successful well-rounded student first and foremost and of course as an artist. It is a long haul thing but first good education and let him continue as a good artist,” the Commissioner said.
President Macron and GovernorAmbode with Waris admiring the young artist's portrait of Macron.

Responding, Waris said he was extremely thrilled to meet with President Macron and Governor Ambode, saying the development was a life-changing moment for him. “I am very happy and excited. I thank Governor Ambode for this opportunity. Now, I want to study my arts very well; I want to be a good artist, great artist in the world,” Waris said.

Young Waris’ parents, Mr and Mrs Mutiu Kareem said the feat attained by their son was a significant turning point in their lives, and thanked the State Government for the huge support they have so far received.
“I thank God for this. What has happened in my life through my son is something I never thought would happen to me but this is a miracle. I am so happy. I want to thank Governor Ambode for all he has done for us and also my son’s instructor who trained him, as well as his teachers and mother,” Kareem said.

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