|Mariam Ayolola Kaka|
Mariam, who is the daughter of a former Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Senator Adegbenga Kaka, won the competition, beating over 4,000 participants from 44 countries. The competition was organised by a charity group, Never Such Innocence, an international poetry, art, speech and song competition for young people aged 9 -16, focusing on conflict and its impact.
In a letter dated June 15, 2020, Johnson lamented that the awards presentation, which was to hold in London on June 17, 2020 couldn't hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Prime Minster, however sent words of encouragement to Kaka whose entry titled, 'Nostalgic Salutation to Fallen Heroes' won the over all prize.
Johnson wrote: “You show me that, as we mark 75 years since the end of the Second World War, young people are paying far more attention than many would give credit for, and are determined to learn from our past.
“You show me that you care about the impact of conflict, and I’ve thought long and hard about how you can use your voices to unite communities and nations. Most of all you show me that you have the courage required to stand up in front of a crowd of strangers and with skill, passion and a command of our wonderful language – let the world know exactly what you are thinking.
“That skill of self-expression, that art of persuasion, will always be the very best way of avoiding conflict, healing division and making this a better place for all of us. So please, keep thinking, keep writing, keep talking, and keep performing.”
|Nostalgic Salutation to Fallen Heroes'|
Kaka, a SS 2 student, said her inspiration in creating the work came from the fact that the second World War was the deadliest globally. “My drawing medium is oil on paper and it is A3 size. My inspiration came from the fact that the World War II was the deadliest in terms of global deaths, injured, wounded, incapacitated, disabled and traumatized casualties," Muslim News reported from New Telegraph source. “My inspiration was heightened when I saw the commonwealth war Graves as one of the second World War resource contents for a fight for freedom. Plus, Nigeria being a commonwealth nation."
Excerpts from the young artist's statement: “I was excited to draw a war grave which is a burial place for members of the armed forces and civilians who died during the world War II. I also thought of armed forces remembrance day when wreath of flowers are laid in remembrance of fallen heroes and decided to draw a military man visiting war grave.
“However, unknowningly to me I raised his left hand in salutation and my mum being a daughter of a retired police officer, seems to know a little about military and she told me that military officers salute with the right hand and she encouraged me to research it to be doubly sure,” she added.
Mariam’s father, Alhaji Kaka, acording to Muslim News related how his daughter came out successfully in the contest. “44 countries put in for the entry, and 4,000 participants were involved across the world. She knew nobody in the organisation behind the competition. Everything was done online with no physical interaction. In the end, her work was adjudged to be the best."