Diaspora-Artists logo


Steven Psyllos

 

Steven Psyllos was responsible for writing a feature on Chris Ofili that appeared in the Winter 2009 issue of GIANT, an African American music/fashion/lifestyle magazine. The text included a portrait of Ofili that was taken by Grant Devlin. The contents page of the magazine introduced the feature as, CHRIS OFILI IS PEAKING “IN THE SUNSHINE”, next to a scaled down uncredited reproduction of one of Ofili’s paintings. [Afro Green].

The feature was titled Into the Sunshine and was introduced as “He’s famous for his portrait of the Virgin Mary filled with porn and elephant dung, But he’s also the best artist of his generation. Meet British painter CHRIS OFILI.”

The text included several images of Ofili’s work, including Afro Green, 2005-8, Acrylic, oil, polyester reson, glitter, map pins and elephant dung on linen, 96” x 72”; The Raising of Lazarus, Oil and charcoal on linen, 109.7” x 78.9”;  Afronirvana, 2002, Oil, acrylic, polyester resin, aluminium foil, glitter, map pins and elephant dung on canvas, 108” x 144”. All images reproduced courtesy of Chris Ofili/Afroco and David Zwirner, New York

From the text: “ “I think it’s important to live an interesting life,” says Chris Ofili, the man who’s crafted his way from a much-hyped “Young British Artist” to one of the most influential painters of his generation with a no-holds-barred retrospective on the way from the esteemed Tate museum in London. “That was part of the reason that I moved from London to Trinidad. I felt like my life could be more interesting.”

To describe Ofili’s life as anything but interesting is almost unthinkable. He has it all: critical acclaim, peer recognition, financial success, street cred - all with a healthy dose of scandal to keep it interesting.

The worls first took note of Ofili with his controversial 1996 painting The Holy Virgin Mary, laden with lumps of elephant shit and clippings from a porn mag. When Charles Saatchi’s stir-the-pot exhibition “Sensation” arrived in New York in 1999, then-mayor Rudolph Giuliani attempted to pull all public funding from the Brooklym Museum of art, which housed it. The result was a publicity war and accusations of censorship, culminating in a 72-year-old man sneaking into the museum and smearing white paint on the work. Chatterboxes chatted, collectors reached deeper into their purses and, most important, people remembered Ofili’s name.”

The piece, a potted biography of the artist, concluded with Ofili reflecting on his life in Trinidad. “Here, life has a very gentle pace to it. My studio is five minutes from where I live. It’s like a cottage, quite small. But I feel comfortable, and it’s private, and I can work there. It’s up a steep hill, but it has a great view up there over a valley.”