Afro Lunar Lovers
Giclée, embossed and gold leaf, hand applied by the artist, gouache and felt tip digitally merged2003
About the work
The couple in 'Afro Lunar Lovers' hold each other in a glamorous embrace; they seem to have paused for a kiss during a romantic dance. Each wears formal evening dress and the mood and scene could be taken from a revised Hollywood film still. Ofili has expressed two opposing ideas about these works: on the one hand they are British stereotypes taken from travel brochures of an archetypal Afro-Caribbean beach holiday, and on the other, representations of an earthly form of Eden, a theme developed by Ofili, linking the figures in his work to the idea of a modern Adam and Eve. Significantly, his protagonists, with their Afro hairstyles, have a distinct 1960s look about them. Ofili has drawn explicitly on the Afro throughout his work as a symbol of black identity and black pride, and each of the works in this series is prefixed by the word 'Afro'.
'Afro Lunar Lovers' is part of a larger body of work made by Ofili for the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, 2003. 'Within Reach', Ofili's title for the exhibition, refers to the utopian paradise that he feels could be achieved through the end of racial hatred and war.
Chris Ofili was born in Manchester in 1968. He studied at Chelsea School of Art from 1988 to 1991 and for an MA at the Royal College of Art in 1992. His practice draws on a variety of influences from Black British culture, using popular or mass cultural stereotypes to subvert and draw attention to their everyday use. Ofili was represented in the influential 'Sensation' exhibition in 1997, and won the Turner Prize in 1998.
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.
Chris Ofili (1968 - )
- Afro Lunar Lovers
- Giclée, embossed and gold leaf, hand applied by the artist, gouache and felt tip digitally merged
- height: 49.00 cm, width: 32.00 cm
- Purchased from Victoria Miro Gallery, London, June 2003
- bl: 184/350 br: Afro Lunar Lovers 2003 [monogram]
- Victoria Miro Gallery, London
- GAC number