Sunday, 7 August 2011

Chris Ofili


Today I purchased a framed copy of Chris Ofili's No Woman No Cry from Cancer Research UK (for only £4!). I have been wanting this print for a few weeks to add to my bedroom. Chris Ofili is one of my favourite collage artists, I find his work so visually and mentally stimulating I can never take my eyes off it. I have never been lucky enough to see his work in the flesh but the scale of it in real life makes it all the more inspiring and daring.

One thing I really enjoy about this piece is its colourful and traditional pattern reflecting African culture. This is also present in the way the actual piece of work is presented, it is not hung but held up by two piles of elephant dung. Both of these carry a strong and powerful message, throughout time and tradition sadness and grief have always held a part of our lives regardless of our cultures and backgrounds. The feelings that Stephen Lawrence's family went through are universal, I feel Chris Ofili captures this beautifully by collecting elements that together capture the tragedy of the event.

"This piece of work (No Woman No Cry) is a tribute to the London teenager Stephen Lawrence. The Metropolitan police investigation into his racially motivated murder was mishandled, and subsequent inquiry described the police form as institutionally racist.

In each of the tears shed by the woman of the painting is a collaged image of Stephen Lawrence's face (right), while the words 'R.I.P. Stephen Lawrence' are just discernible beneath the layers of paint. Despite these specific references, the artist also intended the painting to be read in more general terms, as a universal portrayal of melancholy and grief." (Tate)



More on Chris Ofili on wikipedia here :)

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