Mariam Ayolola Kaka, a 15-yearold student of Olabisi Onabanjo University International School, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, has emerged the overall winner of a global art competition. The winner, who is the daughter of a former deputy governor of the state, Senator Adegbenga Kaka, came tops amongst over 4,000 participants in the competition organised by a charity group, Never Such Innocence. Never Such Innocence runs an international poetry, art, speech and song competition for young people aged 9 -16, focusing on conflict and its impact. Kaka’s entry titled, “Nostalgic salutation to fallen heroes” received applause from the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. The awards presentation was billed to hold in London on June 17 but for the COVID- 19 challenges.
Johnson, however, expressed regret for the inability to host the winners at the scheduled date. In a letter, the British Prime Minister congratulated the winners and participants, saying they filled him with hope for the future. He said, “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.” Giving an insight into her artwork, Mariam, who is a SS 2 student, said her inspiration came from the fact that the second World War was the deadliest globally. She said, “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. “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.
“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.