Guinness Names Ghana Toddler as the ‘World’s Youngest Male Artist’

Ace-Liam Ankrah, who turns 2 in July, has already hosted a solo exhibition and sold 15 original pieces

Ace-Liam Ankrah
Ace-Liam Ankrah works on a painting. Guinness World Records

At six months old, Ace-Liam Ankrah painted his first artwork, aptly named The Crawl. His mother, artist Chantelle Kuukua Eghan, wanted to keep him entertained as she worked on her own projects, so she placed a canvas on the floor. The boy spread paint across it as he crawled.

Now, Guinness World Records has officially confirmed the Ghanaian toddler, who turns 2 in July, as the “world’s youngest male artist.” He was 1 year and 152 days old on the day he was verified.

Eghan applied for the record last summer. A few months later, Guinness reached out and explained that Ace-Liam would need to fulfill specific requirements in order to qualify, as Francis Kokutse of the Associated Press (AP) reports.

“He needs to be in an exhibition, make sales, and the sales receipt will be sent to [Guinness as] ... evidence of the event,” Eghan tells the TV channel JoyNews, per Premium Times’ Confidence Cletus. “If he doesn’t sell the artwork, he won’t qualify.”

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Ace-Liam got to work. His first solo show—titled “The Soundout Premium Exhibition”—opened in December at the Museum of Science and Technology in Accra, Ghana.

The boy’s debut was a big hit, and nine of the ten paintings on display sold. Ghana’s first lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, attended the exhibition and commissioned a piece from him, according to BBC News’ Danai Nesta Kupemba.

“His abstract paintings are inspired by the world around him: colors, shapes, textures and his mood,” says Eghan in a statement from Guinness. “Every painting is an expression of his curiosity and joy in discovering new things.”

The boy creates his bright, expressive works using acrylic paint. After he selects the canvas size and paint colors, his mother opens the bottles for him, and his creative process begins.

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“A painting session can last anywhere from a few minutes to about half an hour, depending on his interest at the moment,” says Eghan in the statement. “Sometimes he leaves a painting and comes back to it after a couple of days to finish it. Once he’s done, he says, ‘Mama, finish.’”

Eghan views Ace-Liam as a budding Jackson Pollock, the American Abstract Expressionist best known for pouring and flinging paint across the canvas in his “drip paintings.”

​​“Jackson Pollock allowed his inner child to still be with him, even when he was old,” Eghan tells BBC News. “His work is vibrant and spontaneous, and that is how I see my son’s work.” 

The overall record for the youngest artist belongs to Arushi Bhatnagar of Ujjain, India, who hosted her first solo exhibition at 11 months old. According to Guinness, she went on to create over 2,000 paintings, which she displayed in a number of subsequent exhibitions.

So far, Ace-Liam has sold 15 paintings during his brief career. BBC News reports that he even plans to hold an auction soon. 

What’s next for the young artist? Eghan is now searching for new opportunities for her son, such as applying for scholarships and helping him sell paintings to an international audience. 

However, per the AP, The Crawl is not for sale. His mother plans to keep that particular artwork in the family.

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