How do you interest people who are incapable of appreciating art? Simple. Tell them they could eat it. I bet a lot more people would be a lot more crazy about visual artworks if they could eat it.
It sure sounds crazy but there’s a Nigerian visual artist that creates art that you could actually munch down with a glass of wine. Her name is Haneefah Adam and she’s quite the “food artist.”
Normally, when people visit restaurants or diners or even eat at home, they would eat to their fill not minding the leftovers which are normally discarded. But Haneefah has found a use for those food crumbs that would normally end up in trash bins.
At 28, she’s fashioned a remarkable career out of presenting food in the most creative ways, using it to make portraits and other works of art.
“I have always been artistic,” she tells CNN. “Growing up, my mother said I had a flair for art.”
Interestingly, Haneefah didn’t always set out to make a name for herself through food art, being that she is actually a trained medical scientist. But the foundation for a career in art was laid when she first tested the waters by transforming the famous Barbie into Hijarbie – a hijab-wearing Muslim doll. This was sometime in 2015 and she couldn’t have hoped for better reception of her efforts. That was how she announced her entry into the art scene, and what an announcement it was.
Being quite adept at improvisation and spinoffs, these days she’s fascinating foodies and art lovers alike by transforming food into art. And it’s something to behold.
“I do regular portraits, I sew and paint, but what excites me the most is food,” she says.
Haneefah is inspired by random things, including life experiences and culture. She sees everything around her as something that can be made into art.
At the 2016 #TechMeetsArtNG exhibition that was sponsored by Samsung Nigeria and Rele Gallery, no other person was more deserving of the grand prize and she duly walked away with it.
The competition was a culinary exhibition aimed at exploring the artistic presentation of some of Nigeria’s local meals. And she showed everyone why she owns that turf by using all the ingredients of Ogbono Soup, a popular Nigerian delicacy and her favourite dish, to create a beautiful portrait of an African woman adorned in vibrant colours.
“Before the competition, my art was mostly random, and I was just documenting food on social media. But after winning, I started to think about actively making a living from food art,” she says.
By coming out tops in the contest, she got the push she needed to commit to food art full-time and her day-to-day activities currently involve creating art for popular food brands in Nigeria including Maggi and Dangote Salt.
Haneefah is now looking to further communicate her presence in Africa’s vibrant art scene, starting with that of Nigeria’s commercial nerve, Lagos. This she hopes to achieve in the next couple of years by taking part in more exhibitions across Nigeria and the rest of Africa and flying the art flag from her current base in Kwara State, northern Nigeria.