Chris Ofili CBE was born in Manchester where he completed a Fine Art Foundation course at Tameside College of Technology before going on to study in London, completing a BA in Fine Art at the Chelsea School of Art (1991) and an MA in Fine Art at the Royal College of Art (1993).
Ofili’s large canvases – which are formed by layers of mixed media and collage – make reference to a range of sources: religious iconography; ‘80s and ‘90s hip-hop and Black urban culture; and pornography. He has also made etchings and screen printed works and, after 2003, veered away from his signature elephant dung, resin, glitter and pins, and towards more works on paper. Pencil drawings and watercolour paintings – including gouache, ink, pastel, charcoal and aluminium leaf -provided new spaces for experimentation for Ofili, as did his sculptures made in bronze and nickel silver.
Ofili has exhibited in several group and solo shows internationally since the late 1980s. His solo exhibitions include the Serpentine Gallery, London (1998); the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2005); the Kestnergesellschaft, Hanover (2006); Tate Britain, London (2005 and 2010), The New Museum in New York (2014); and The National Gallery, London (2017). In 1996, he was involved in a collaborative project with Iniva called Maps Elsewhere which brought together new commissioned work by a group of artists exploring ideas surrounding maps and mapping. In 2017,
He was awarded the Turner Prize in 1998 and an Honorary Fellowship at the University of the Arts in 2004. His work has shown at Biennials in Istanbul, Tokyo, Sydney and Venice, where he represented Britain in 2003, working in collaboration with architect David Adjaye to plan the space.
Since 2005 he has lived and worked in Port of Spain, Trinidad.