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Chris Ofili Biography

Most well-known for his infamous ‘elephant dung’ pieces, Brit Chris Ofili is a contemporary painter who isn’t afraid to confront taboos in his exploration of the black British experience. He is influenced by both the historical and modern context and mixes standard and unusual materials to express his vision. Ofili, born in Manchester in the north of England in 1968, has created works using printed photos, and most famously, elephant dung mixed with glitter and resin, for his most recognised piece, ‘The Holy Virgin Mary’. This controversial painting, produced in 1998, was both denounced by Rudy Guiliani, who was the major of New York City at the time, and vandalised by an offended viewer. The art establishment thought differently however, and Ofili was awarded the Turner Prize for contemporary art in 1998. He was also recognised with a win at the Whitworth Young Contemporaries exhibition. Other renowned works include: ‘No Woman No Cry’ and ‘Captain S*** and the Legend of the Black Stars.’ He is still creating art from his bases in London and New York City. Chris Ofili is a graduate of both the Chelsea School of Art and the Royal College of Art, gaining a degree in fine art and a Master’s in painting.

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