(British, born October 10, 1968), Turner Prize-winning painter and member of the Young British Artists
, is best known for his inventive, vibrant works examining contemporary black experience, which draw upon a wide array of historical and cultural sources. Born in Manchester, Ofili studied in London at the Chelsea School of Art from 1988 through 1991, and received a master’s degree from the Royal College of Art in 1993. While he was a student he traveled to Zimbabwe for six weeks, an experience that significantly impacted his artistic production. One of the few YBAs
of African descent, Ofili’s work was exhibited regularly by Charles Saatchi at his North London gallery.
In brightly colored, technically complex works, Ofili incorporates sources ranging from the cave paintings of Zimbabwe to comic books, pornography, and hip-hop culture to present varied experiences of contemporary black identity. His work incorporates a myriad of materials, including glitter, magazine cutouts, resin, and, perhaps most famously, elephant dung. Symbolic of his Nigerian roots, Ofili often uses elephant dung to prop up the base of his paintings for display, in addition to incorporating the material into his painted canvases. In 1998, Ofili was awarded the prestigious Turner Prize; the following year, his work generated significant praise and controversy at the Brooklyn Museum’s famous Sensation
exhibition. Ofili has since exhibited a diverse range of works including watercolors, sculpture, and large-scale installations in addition to his paintings. In 2003, he was selected to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale. His work is held in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Art, and the Tate Gallery and Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Ofili currently lives and works in Trinidad.