David, currently based in Norway, has a varied multicultural background. Born 1980 in Lagos, Nigeria, one of Africa’s most populous cities, David discovered a passion for art young, practicing it from when he was 5 years old. In 2011, he moved to Karlskoga, Sweden, then to Gothenburg. The architecture in these locations fascinated and inspired him, and he draws from their structure and beauty. David now lives in Oslo, where he has a studio at Gamle Fornebu Kultursenter (GFK).  

His current body of work is a collection of watercolor portraits that take inspiration from renowned figurative painters Paul Gauguin and Lucien Freud, as well as David Hockney. His portraits gain intensity primarily through loose, wet, and gestural application. The faces appear raw, tired, and worn-down. Most of the faces are disturbed by stray drips. One, in particular, is nearly entirely obliterated by excess water, the features sliding off the face, beyond recognition, like a photo that was developed improperly. The artist’s gaze appears, at times, unrelenting and unforgiving, echoing Freud’s treatment of the figure.  

Otherwise, his paintings can be odd and humorous. One man inexplicably has a fish behind his head, while another man’s head merges with a banana. They are puns based on common phrases and slang, such as the use of the word banana to refer to a state of mind, or craziness. David uses his varied background to create equally diverse portraits, capturing a range of states of being.  

Curatorial Notes

Inspired by such artists as Paul Gauguin, Lucien Freud, and David Hockney, David explores identity and expression through his abstracted portraits. David works in different varieties of mediums to create his paintings, from watercolor, oil, acrylic, ink, and gouache. His work is often abstract, figures, portrait, landscapes, conveying huge layers of bright and strong colors with a lot of details and meaning. Capturing the complexities of people’s emotions and inner nature are among his favorite topics.  

Artist Interview