Chris Ofili was born in Manchester, England, in 1968, and currently lives and works in Trinidad. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Chelsea School of Art in 1991 and his Master of Fine Arts from the Royal College of Art in 1993.
In Ofili’s work painterly and cultural elements – both sacred and profane, personal and political, from high art and popular culture – come together to play on ideas of beauty while carrying messages about black culture, history and exoticism. Ofili came to prominence in the early 1990s with richly orchestrated paintings combining rippling dots of paint, drifts of glitter, collaged images and elephant dung – varnished, often studded with map pins and applied to the picture surface as well as supporting the canvas – a combination of physical elevation and symbolic link to the earth.
He won the Turner Prize in 1998 and over the past two decades has exhibited in many international institutions. In 2003 he was selected to represent Britain at the 50th Venice Biennale, where he presented his ambitious exhibition Within Reach. In 2010 Tate Britain presented an extensive survey of his work and in 2014, the exhibition Night and Day, held at the New Museum, New York, featured more than 30 of Ofili’s major paintings, in addition to drawings and a selection of sculptures from across his career. The exhibition travelled to the Aspen Art Museum in Colorado in 2015.