Pedestrians in northwest London who happen to wander down a certain alley on their way to work or school this week will have the treat of an unexpected piece of art: a beautifully executed mural of actress-activist Yara Shahidi’s face.
The large painting is composed of spray paint on cinderblock and is a remarkably realistic rendering. However, as it turns out, the person who created the mural, Richard Wilson, didn’t even know who Shahidi was when he undertook the painting.
“I liked the colours and this girls look (hoops and curls u GOT ME lol),” the London-based street artist wrote on Instagram. “I wanted to know who it was so asked on here and was told its Yara Shahidi. So since then I find out shes an amazing role model for young women in particular and has a huge following.”
Wilson even admitted that he is “not really a fan” of Drake, so the painting is truly a remarkable example of serendipity. “Excuse my ignorance not knowing who she was,” he noted. “Thanks Yara for the lesson, and inspiration too!”
Shahidi re-grammed the picture on her own account, saying she was “honored” to be illustrated by Wilson and appreciated the connection of art forms. Fans raved over the painting as well, with nearly every comment including the word “beautiful.”
The 18-year-old Black-ish and Grown-ish star is also raising her visibility in a different arena this week, having announced Wednesday (April 18) that she’ll be teaming with social-news publisher NowThis for Eighteen x ’18, an initiative urging young Americans to get involved politically and vote in the 2018 U.S. midterm elections. Shahidi has a long record of social activism for her age, with many causes championed on her social media accounts.
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