On a warm day in May we had a chat over apple cakes and cold drinks with Nigerian born, Oslo living Visual Artist; David Obi. He shared a little about himself and challenges he has faced as an African Artist in Norway.Painting out of his studio in Fornebu, David moved with his family from Sweden to explore the art scene here in Norway.David describes himself as an impressionist artist; preferring depicting overall visual effects through short uneven brush strokes instead of a more smooth detailed finish. He has had a fascination with human emotions and how they are expressed facially since he was 5 years old. This is reflected in most of his body of work. For David, the arts and crafts has been a life long love affair. He has been creative for as long as he recalls.
I remember growing up back in Nigeria, I always had a corner permanently set out for me in the living room where I painted using water colour. I also started making simple greeting cards early. I have always loved arts and crafts.
David paints in water colour, acrylic, gouache, ink, and oil. His paintings are bright and colourful. He enjoys painting portraits, landscapes and abstracts. Passionate for his art, David also took up education in Nigeria in General Arts to become a trained artist. In Sweden he succesfully held a number of exhibitions in major galleries in Stockholm. He carried the optimism over from Sweden to Oslo when he moved. The reality has however been different.
Sweden was not easy to crack but Norway in my experience has been a tougher market. Getting into the art scene here in Oslo has been difficult…but we will get there!
When i first moved to Sweden it was challenging getting into the scene. I sold my art at ridiculous prices to try to create awareness. Sweden i will say was difficult but more open that Norway.
The biggest challenge has been getting his work into galleries in Oslo. In my experience the marketing here in Norway is difficult for foreigners. I have approached one too many galleries and sent in my portfolio at their request all to no avail. It was also very difficult to find a studio to paint out from in Oslo in the start…Thankfully that part is history now.
You have to be well connected in the network. We are here but not well represented.
David hopes to one day have is work exhibited in galleries in Oslo. He is currently working on a horse-racing series which he hopes will go on exhibition in Sweden later on this year.
”I do not know if there are many other African artists in Oslo who have faced similar challenges, but if they are it will be great if we can come together to build our own platform.” – David Obi