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Art inspired by Chris Ofili -free resources.

Chris Ofili (born in 1968) is a British painter of Nigerian descent who has lived in Trinidad and Tobago since 2005. He is a Turner prize winning artist who is most famous for creating vibrant paintings that include a collage of glitter, resin and elephant dung.

No Woman No Cry 1998 (image tate.org.uk)

Chris Ofili was part of the 'Young British Artists' movement, a group of artists who began exhibiting their work together in the late 1980's who were considered to be innovative and exiting in their use of art materials, love of installations and determination to sell and market their own work.


The central themes of Chris Ofili's artwork are black history and black experiences. The painting above was painted as a tribute to Doreen Lawrence, the mother of Stephen, a teenage boy who was killed in an unprovoked racist attack in London. The painting is built up of layers and the tears streaming from the woman's eyes are each filled with collaged images of Stephen Lawrence's face and the words R.I.P Stephen written in glow in the dark paint. His work invites the viewer to think, question and consider the layers that surround every story and which can be built up over time, one thing covering another. Chris Ofili's work often highlights the topic of racism and he is one of the few artists that specifically tackles the topic of racism among the police.



In 2005 an exhibition entitled 'Afro Muses' was held in a Harlem gallery. The exhibition was a solo show of Chris Ofili's work and was made up of 181 miniature portraits. The paintings had been created daily over a period of ten years and were initially done as a warm up exercise to kick start his creativity. The portraits are not of real people but are an imaginary blend of historical figures, people the artist had met , colours, patterns and ideas. The paintings were displayed as groups and in pairs. The artist has said that it was a challenge for him to paint the images every day but that it was an activity that became part of his creative process. Some of the characters were later included in other, bigger pieces of art work.

The set of images below sold for $173,000 in 2016 at auction, double the expected price.

Harem 5 by Chris Ofili 1995-2005

Our young artists used Chris Ofili's Afro Muses as inspiration to create their own mini portraits. It was challenging for them to both come up with nine ideas and to paint in a small space. Inspired by his other works we also added splashes of glitter, gems and sequins.


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