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 Chris (Christopher) Ofili  (1968 - )

About: Chris (Christopher) Ofili
 

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Lived/Active: Trinidad and Tobago/England      Known for: mixed media mod Nigerian figure painting

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BIOGRAPHY for Chris Ofili
Facts/Data
Birth
1968 (Manchester, England)
 
Lived/Active
Trinidad and Tobago/England


Self portrait - Self Portrait with Sister and Bike


Often Known For
mixed media mod Nigerian figure painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Chris Ofili was born October 10, 1968 in Manchester.  He had a Catholic school education attending St. Pius X High School for Boys, and then Xaverian College in Victoria Park, Manchester.  Ofili completed a foundation course in art at Tameside College in Ashton-under-Lyne in Greater Manchester and studied in London, at the Chelsea School of Art from 1988 to 1991 and at the Royal College of Art from 1991 to 1993.

Ofili's painting also reference blaxploitation films and gangsta rap, seeking to question racial and sexual stereotypes in a humorous way.  His work is often built up in layers of paint, resin, glitter, dung (mainly elephant) and other materials to create a collage.

One of his paintings, The Holy Virgin Mary, a depiction of the Virgin Mary, was at issue in a lawsuit between the mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art when it was exhibited there in 1999 as a part of the "Sensation"  exhibit.  The painting depicted a black African Mary surrounded by images from blaxploitation movies and close-ups of female genitalia cut from pornographic magazines, and elephant dung.  These were formed into shapes reminiscent of the cherubim and seraphim commonly depicted in images of the Immaculate conception and the Assumption of Mary.  Following the scandal surrounding this painting, Bernard Goldberg ranked Ofili #86 in 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America.  Red Grooms  showed his support of the artist by purchasing one of Ofili's paintings in 1999, even after Giuliani famously exclaimed, “There’s nothing in the First Amendment that supports horrible and disgusting projects!”

Chris Ofili is a Turner Prize winning British painter best known for artworks referencing aspects of his Nigerian heritage, particularly his incorporation of elephant dung.  He was one of the Young British Artists, and is now based in Trinidad.
Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Ofili

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