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I am a big deal! Young Clarendon artist turns head with his paintings

Published:Wednesday | January 6, 2016 | 10:54 AMHorace Fisher
Another piece of Akeem Parker's artwork.
Young Akeem Parks stands beside some of his artwork.
Akeem Parker displays two of his paintings.

MAY PEN, Clarendon:

FOURTEEN-YEAR-OLD Akeem Parker, while his contemporaries play, is often busy putting brush strokes to canvass.

The super talented Garvey Maceo High School art student eats, sleeps and breathes art, and within the last month, young Parker completed two paintings with the intention to sell them. He was, however, dissuaded by his mother not to dispose of the paintings.

Heeding his mother's advice, the artist took both paintings and mounted a one-man exhibition at the Jamalco Bauxite Company main gate, where he was photographed and the picture posted online.

And bang, Parker was transformed into an overnight sensation with thousands of people viewing, sharing, commenting and making offers to purchase the two masterpieces.

"Akeem's story is truly an inspiring one, as is his passion for art. After the photo, his exhibition was posted online. We simply reposted the image on the Youth Information Centre (YIC) social media sites, and as they say, the rest is history," Chevelle Campbell, a youth empowerment officer at the May Pen's YIC, shared with Rural Xpress.


"Just like that, the photo went viral and Akeem became an overnight art sensation with millions of people viewing, sharing, commenting and making offers to buy pieces from him on social media," the YIC empowerment officer added.

She said, so far, Parker's exhibition has been viewed by more than one million persons with 164,599 viewers making comments, while some 126,295 viewers liked the photo, and it has been shared 115,392 times.

The youngster, who shared his aspirations with Rural Xpress to become a cartoonist, said while he is surprised by the response from his gesture of mounting the simple exhibition at the bauxite company gate, says he is inspired by landscape scenes.

"Yes, I am surprised, because I didn't expect this response. I just went to the company (Jamalco) to hold up the two paintings because Mommy said I should not sell them. And next thing you know, I am a big deal," Parker said.

Parker's mother, Elfreda Dyer, a single parent who operates a grocery in the Hayes area of Vere, Clarendon, said, since her son's overnight success, he has become somewhat of a community hero with well-wishers locally and overseas making offers to help in his artistic development.