British artist Chris Ofili (born 1968) creates iridescent artworks out of eclectic and multi-layered materials inspired by religion, pop culture, and his Nigerian heritage. Drawing subjects and imagery from classical works of poetry and prose, Ofili juxtaposes high art forms with references to blaxploitation films and collaged pornographic images. His materials are likewise contradictory and varied, and he is known for using elephant dung to embellish his elaborately detailed paintings. One of his most notorious works that incorporates the unconventional material is The Holy Virgin Mary which toured at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 1999. Ofili’s inventive practice navigates the tensions between traditional subjects and unorthodox forms, undoing the boundary between the sacred and the profane.
Chris Ofili was born in Manchester and studied in London at the Royal College of Art, receiving his M.F.A in 1993. He is a British Turner Prize-winner and member of the Young British Artists. Since 2005, Ofili has lived in Trinidad and Tobago, finding new inspirations for his practice in Caribbean life.