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AFRICA MONTH: Meet the Nigerian artist who made a pencil portrait of Kevin Hart that the comedian actually purchased

Published May 19, 2022

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Cape Town - Eli Waduba Yusuf, is the incredible Nigerian artist who caught the eye of one of Hollywood’s A-list comedians, Kevin Hart, in 2019.

Yusuf posted his work of his idol online, little did he know that the funny man himself would reply, let alone buy the artwork from him and commission more work!

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Waduba, a brilliant pencil artist, started a campaign to get Hart’s attention in 2019, by posting the artwork on his Twitter handle @Ewaduba.

A little over one hour later, his dream came true. The actor replied to Yusuf’s tweet and, as they say, the rest is history.

Hart expressed an interest in buying the work and even commissioned three other paintings of some his – unnamed – celebrity friends, writes Nigerian online news publication, Punch.

Nigerians, that have followed the campaign from the beginning went on to congratulate Waduba and thank Hart for supporting the artist, according to New Dawn Nigeria.

This speaks once again about the power of social media. Not too long ago, we were writing each letters and posting them via snail mail.

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Yusuf said it felt surreal that the comedian and actor had contacted him. “I still can't believe it; it feels like a dream. It's been so overwhelming. Kevin Hart has just blown my mind,” he told BBC, citing the website Todby.com.

Yusuf said a lot had changed in just a couple of seconds.

Eli Waduba Yusuf at work on a portrait. Picture: Eli Waduba Yusuf Facebook

“A few days ago, I was just a local artist who loved drawing and would have loved the world to see my work, but I didn't know it would happen so fast,” he told the online site.

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Yusuf honoured his mother for encouraging him to pursue his passion, even though she never had an opportunity to have a formal education.

We’re incredibly grateful to your strong African mum for raising such a fine role model to young Africans.

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