Talent can come from anywhere. Just ask Twitter user Sulayman Abu-Bakr who saw the 44-year-old artist Ahmed Sulaiman outside of his office building drawing portraits of people passing by.
Abu-Bakr tweeted that Sulaiman offered to draw a portrait of him and was amazed that it only took Sulaiman five minutes to complete. He posted the portraits and a few photos of Sulaiman on Twitter.
Instantly, the undiscovered artist and his work went viral.
Saw this random dude outside my office and he offered to draw me under 5mins.
His name is Ahmed. pic.twitter.com/hCiZQnmKIW
— Sulayman Abu-bakr (@NupeMufasa) March 7, 2018
Twitter users praised Sulaiman for his talent and many wanted to know his situation and why he was on the street.
— Blessing ???? (@Asmau_Zurmi) March 7, 2018
Others shared their portraits too.
— Faisal (@mr_phaisal) March 7, 2018
Iv met him too and I was amazed pic.twitter.com/N0rpbDiqnS
— Hadiza Abubakar Umar (@Matansarki1) March 7, 2018
One user, @debbrianna, pondered if Sulaiman can create amazing portraits in a matter of minutes, what can he do with more time.
What can he do in a week? Just imagin that,
— debbrianna (@debbrianna) March 8, 2018
Ahmed needs to be hired. I am sure a newspaper can make use of his talent
— Willie Bad Fotoshop (@badfotoshop) March 8, 2018
In just a few days after the tweet went viral, Abu-bakr invited Sulaiman to his office to share his story. It turns out that he lost his wife recently and that he has been living with friends until he got back on his feet. He took to street art to make a living and possibly start his own studio all the while still battling an undisclosed addiction.
His wife is late, he has a family in Kaduna but squatting with a friend in Abuja and he would like to own a studio some day. pic.twitter.com/CjXs6KVJWq
— Sulayman Abu-bakr (@NupeMufasa) March 9, 2018
Abu-bakr has set up a fundraising campaign to send Ahmed to a rehabilitation center, get him a place to stay, a studio, and materials to practice his craft, according to the Independent. So far, the GoFundMe campaign has raised nearly 3,000 pounds of the 5,000 goal.
“We are trying to raise funds to take him to a rehab and subsequently set him up," Abu-bakr said. "He wants to challenge himself to see how much better he can be.”