David Olatoye

David Olatoye
Nigerian-based contemporary talent, David Olatoye, creates hyper-stylized portraits with a digitised and ultra-modern edge in his chosen media of acrylic and pen. A visual creative with a penchant for the written word, Olatoye’s star has risen sharply since he launched his career in Lagos in 2015, after finishing his Bachelor of Fine Art degree at the highly regarded Obafemi Awolowo University in Ife, Nigeria. A highly collectable contemporary artist, Olatoye’s work explores the concepts of reconstructed and idealised domestic scenes through a critical lens that examines his own somewhat fractured childhood memories and the expectations of life in a traditional Nigerian home and society. It is inevitable that his lens on domesticity extends to the potency of women – an autobiographical stance given the status of female family figures in his own upbringing. Olatoye’s fashionably (though modestly) dressed female subjects stare intently at the viewer, demanding attention and engagement – their somewhat haughty gazes leaving the viewer both unsettled and intrigued. Details such as the subjects’ formal attire and their lavish hairstyles are reminiscent of historical court portraiture – a reference to the hidden worlds that lie beneath the seemingly perfect represented scenarios. Likewise, the imagined interiors symbolise domestic perfection while their colours suggest that this is indeed an altered, even surreal reality, that Olatoye is examining and portraying. These modern portraits reveal the artist’s undeniable predilection for the past while leaning in sharply to the future. COUNTRY • NIGERIA

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