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Tuesday, 1 December, 1998, 21:27 GMT
Chris Ofili profile
Chris Ofili's work examines issues of black culture, imagery and sexual stereotyping
Chris Ofili has said of his painting: "My project is not a p c project ... It allows you to laugh about issues that are potentially serious."

Ofili studied Fine Art at Chelsea School of Art, before completing a Masters degree in painting at the Royal College of Art.

In 1992, he was awarded a British Council travel scholarship to Zimbabwe - a visit which has had a lasting impact on his painting.

As a black Briton of Nigerian descent, that first visit to Africa encouraged him to reconsider his own identity and to develop a highly personal aesthetic through which he examines issues of black culture, imagery and sexual stereotyping.

His work draws on a wide range of cultural references and popular material, from 1970s comics to contemporary black music and pornographic magazines, elements which he combines with humour, subversion and an innovative approach to the use of painting as a medium.

During his stay in Africa, Ofili began to incorporate lumps of elephant dung into his canvases - both as compositional elements and as supports on which to display his paintings.

He says this is a way of - quite literally - incorporating Africa into his work.

Ancient cave paintings of Zimbabwe, with their images composed of decorative dots, have helped evolve Ofili's painting style which combines richly-coloured patterning with collage and three-dimensional elements.

Works such as Afrodizzia (1996) and Blossom (1997) are characteristic examples of his style.

The BBC acknowledges the assistance of the Tate Gallery in producing this page.

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