Chris Ofili

Chris Ofili rose to fame in the late ‘80s as a figurehead of the Young British Artists. He was the first Black artist to win the Turner Prize, and throughout his career, his art has challenged and changed perceptions in the art world and beyond.

Why did a portrait of the Virgin Mary outrage Rudy Giuliani? 

When Chris Ofili’s famous painting was shown at the Brooklyn Museum in 1999, the then mayor threatened to evict the museum and withdraw all its funding. 

He considered it sacrilegious because it featured magazine cut outs of vulvas and, of course, a bare breast made of elephant dung. 

The Holy Virgin Mary, 1996

Afrodizzia, 1996

Luckily, the art world stood with Chris. They recognised the subversive commentary on modern life in the altar boy turned punk artist’s paintings.

when I was younger I was more part of a system… my enquiry’s different.

These days, Chris’s work doesn’t cause quite so much controversy. Not just because the world has changed, but because Chris’s paintings helped change it.

The Adoration of Captain Shit, 1998

No Woman, No Cry, 1998



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