It was a photo shared 'round the world: a little boy, said to be from South Africa, drawing with utter concentration. People sharing it joked he was, for example, a grouchy driving instructor or perhaps a stern security guard. The story behind the image was unclear—until now, reports the BBC. Jake, who was 4 at the time the photo was taken last year, lives in a small village in eastern Ghana. The photo came about because cameraman Carlos Cortes of Chicago had traveled to Ghana with Solomon Adufah, a self-taught artist who was returning to his homeland to teach art and creative studies to children. "I just caught Jake in the moment of his teaching," Cortes says, after much-needed basic supplies such as pencils had been handed out to the kids.
The image was one of hundreds Cortes took as part of an ongoing project to develop a documentary about Adufah, and a trailer is on Vimeo. Adufah shared the image of Jake on Instagram; it went viral and, as Eyewitness News reports, "broke the internet." Adufah worried Jake was becoming a meme when the image had actually captured a heartfelt moment of learning, but he realized all the likes could turn into money for basic school supplies, and his GoFundMe page raised a few thousand dollars in its first day. Neither Jake nor Cortes was aware of the boy's fame until this week. Adufah plans to return to his homeland to provide more resources. "This money could make a huge difference to the kids," he says. (This boy's plea to adopt a Syrian boy has gone viral.)