Chris Ofili is all too aware of ethnic categorizing in the art world, which expects a black artist to be naïve, tribal or shamanistic, as he declares about his six week trip to Zimbabwe: "It's a great country, but it's a foreign country for me and the idea of looking for your roots and stuff is ridiculous."

Chris Ofili's paintings are concerned with issues of black identity and experience and frequently employ racial stereotypes in order to challenge them. Thus in the painting 'Afrodizzia' (1996; London, Saatchi Gal.), the work makes reference to the stereotype of black sexual potency, and magazine cut-out faces are given 1970s Afro hairstyles, their names written in pinheads on lumps of dung. Chris Ofili draws on a wide range of cultural references; from the Bible to jazz and hip hop music, from Blake and Rodin to pornographic magazines.


    Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.


    November 2013