Lagos and Los Angeles-based art house Rele Gallery on Sunday announced David Otaru as the latest of a string of additions to their stable of extremely talented young artists. The contemporary artist is a relative newcomer to the exploding contemporary art scene in Nigeria, so an introduction is in order.

David Azegbe-Otaru is a 29 year old artist from Edo State, Nigeria, who incorporates pop culture and nostalgic elements into his canvas paintings. Nicknamed “Kaydee” by his friends ( a rough compression of “Crazy Dee”, he explains here) Otaru has metamorphosized from realism-chasing pencil artist to a creator of conceptually diverse and visually expressive art, employing a multiplicity of tools including acrylic, charcoal, gold leaf, and of course, pencils.

Earlier this year, he was named in a set of “young contemporaries” in an exhibition by Rele Art Foundation, following success at a bootcamp event.  Other artists in that select set included Sabrina Coleman-Pinheiro, Iyunola Sanyaolu, and Michael Igwe, who have also been permanently signed up by Rele.

What will he add to the Gallery 

Already fielding some of Africa’s best young artists, Rele have become in recent times something of a breakout 5-star destination for amazing contemporary art. They offer multivariate perspective: Tonia Nneji’s powerful women-focused art, Ameh Egwu‘s fascination with lines and cultural symbols, Coleman-Pinheiro’s expressive dark figures, and more.

Otaru adds a flavour of familiarity and nostalgia to the mix. Everyday scenes and clearly articulated forms and objects combine to produce a truly immersive visual experience that many of Rele’s patrons will find endearing.


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