Castell Harlech 15/9/96
About the work
This set of monochrome prints was produced from etchings made by Chris Ofili between 10th and 17th September 1996 at ten different locations in North Wales. The intricate lines and tightly packed textural patterns are reminiscent of Ofili's visually rich and intensely decorated paintings.
Chris Ofili was born in Manchester and studied at Chelsea School of Art and the Royal College of Art in London. It was while on a British Council scholarship to Zimbabwe that he was inspired to start including elephant dung as a material in his art - he felt that by introducing it into his paintings it created a tangible link to a part of African culture and heritage that he had experienced at first hand during his visit. Other elements of his later work such as the decorative dots (which refer to the Matopos Hills cave paintings he saw in Zimbabwe) also date from this period.
Ofili participated in the controversial Sensation exhibition that was shown at the Royal Academy, London, in 1997 before touring to Berlin and New York. A solo exhibition of his work was held at Southampton Art Gallery and the Serpentine Gallery, London in 1998. In the same year he was awarded the Turner Prize for his work. Since then he has established a reputation as one of Britain's leading contemporary artists and has exhibited his work widely in the UK and abroad. In 2003 he was selected to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale for which his exhibition Within Reach was held.
About the artist
Chris Ofili was born in Manchester and studied at Chelsea School of Art from 1988 to 1991. While studying for his MA at the Royal College of Art in 1992, he was awarded the British Council travel scholarship to Zimbabwe. Of Nigerian descent, Ofili found in Zimbabwe an opportunity to reconsider his own identity at home in Britain and how he was perceived abroad. He began to incorporate elephant dung and decorative dots into his canvases, as well as drawing on a variety of influences from Black British culture, including magazines, music and mainstream media. Ofili was included in the influential Sensation exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1997. He had a major exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery, London in 1998, and won the Turner Prize the same year. Ofili was the first Black artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale in 2002. His work is held in international collections including the Tate Collection and he was appointed CBE in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to art. Ofili moved to Trinidad in 2005 and now divides his time between the Caribbean, London and New York.