Arts & Academia

Haneefah Adam: Promoting Edible Art with Nigerian Delicacies

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Miracle Nwankwo

The definition of food by Merriam Webster is widely accepted since food to man is something that nourishes, sustains or supplies. However, Haneefah Adam, a young Nigerian-born visual artist uses food creatively to create art.

Haneefah uses food to make portraits and other works of art.  She made waves in the art industry when she created the “Hijabie”, a Barbie wearing a hijab.

As a child, Haneefah loved to scribble, paint and read books with lots of pictures. She has a Bachelors degree in Physiology and a Masters in Pharmacology and Drug Discovery from Coventry University, UK. She was born in Lagos, Nigeria into a Muslim family of six with very supportive parents who recognised and acknowledged her rare talent.

Growing up, Haneefah did not play with dolls like other little girls.  When she grew older, she thought it would be beautiful to see a Barbie in Hijab. She realised no one had dressed up a barbie doll in hijab before.  Haneefah took some time before deciding to start documenting her hijabi dressed up doll. In 2015, she made her debut entry into fame with the Hijabie project – transforming Barbie into a hijab-wearing Muslim doll to represent Muslim girls around the world, which made her name spread across places.

Haneefah came to limelight again when she won the #TechMeetsArtNG exhibition, a culinary exhibition sponsored by Samsung Nigeria and Rele Gallery to explore the artistic presentation of some of Nigeria’s local meals. After the exhibition, Haneefah began to think of how she could make a living from food art, so she started sculpting portraits of mouthwatering Nigerian delicacies with hopes to rejig food into art.

Prior to the art competition, she had always wanted to finish her master’s degree, get married and become a lecturer at a university. She never thought that her work would go past social media posts, as she was used to sharing her works and the concepts that she came up with on her social media page. Following her victory at the competition and responses from people, she decided to build a career in art since it was sustainable. Currently, she is a full-time food artist who uses food to create art for brands like Maggi and Dangote salt.

Haneefah is inspired mostly by her personal experiences and her observations. She sees everything around her as something that can be made into art. In creating her art, she primarily uses Nigerian dishes, hereby adding cultural depth to her works. 

International publications like CNN, BBC and New York Times have covered Haneefah’s success story and her various works to inspire many young girls.

Haneefah is mostly concentrated on edible art, but she also does other art. On her blog, an outlet she created after she gained her first degree, she posts various artwork that reflects her interests in food, fashion, faith and arts and crafts.

Alongside her art career, Haneefah runs an amateur clothing line and a modest lifestyle brand, Hanie. Haneefah put so much effort into her work to help your girls see that they can all that they are inspired to do.

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