Abdul Razak Conteh, Visual Artist
Takoma Park, Maryland

Artist's biography:

Born on May 24, 1987, in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. I was born to a family of five children. I am the third born. Part of my childhood was spent in the capital port of Freetown living with my mom and dad who later divorced when I was six years old. Upon my parent's divorce, I lived with my dad for three years and then joined my mom's home when I was nine.

Like any other child, I found it very happy and interesting to live with my mom and stepfather, whose love for my mom was replicated to us despire the fact that we are not his biological children. I lived with my mom and stepfather for 14 years until my immigration to the United States.

My childhood days were full of fantasies and playfulness, especially when I grew up in communities cinema halls, football fields and other attractions. In my early childhood I was so interested in soccer, especially when my older brother was a senior soccer player. Among friends I was famous because of my skillfulness in soccer.

As I grew up, my interests began to change, especially when I started school at St. Philips Primary at the age of six years. I started to scribble with the pencil ever since I placed my hands on it. Every child starts to draw before they start to write. My love for drawing became more and more intense that even my primary teachers took notice of it. My favorite subject became Creative Practical Art. I won a high reputation among teachers and friends alike. In 2000, I represented my school in an all school poster contest titled, “Effects of War” at the national stadium and was successful to emerge in 2nd position.

Here is a list of poster contests I have participated in:

  1. Junior and primary school competition at the national stadium. Title: “Effects of the War” Position 2nd at grade four (2000).

  2. Secondary school poster contest junior school level (by Plann International). Title: “A family working together” Position 1st (2003).

  3. Senior and junior poster contest by Mobil Petroleum Company. Title: “Safety on the way to school” Position 2nd (2005).

  4. Poetry and poster contest both national and regional by the Anti-Corruption Commission. Title: “How corruption affects children” Position 1st, Western Area. 3rd National.

  5. United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) poster contest. Title: “How do you want your country to be in the future” Position 1st, intermediate category, National. (2003)

  6. United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). Title: “How a family should look like” Position 1st. Intermediate, National. (2004)

  7. United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Title: Young people working together towards a common goal” Position 1st, intermediate category. (2007)

  8. Human Rights Commission Sierra Leone (Logo Contest) 2007. Position 3rd National Level. (2007)