by Chris Ofili
oil on canvas, 1991
40 1/8 in. x 17 3/8 in. (1019 mm x 442 mm)
Purchased with help from Laura and Barry Townsley and Janet de Botton, 2008
This portraitback to top
Self-portraiture is rare in Chris Ofili's work. He typically employs collage, resin, glitter and multiple layers of paint to create images that take racial and sexual stereotypes as their subject matter. Made when Ofili was still a student at the Chelsea School of Art, this self-portrait is relatively traditional but the startlingly cropped composition draws attention to the artist's single eye and the intensity of his self-scrutiny in the mirror.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Howgate, Sarah; Nairne, Sandy, A Guide to Contemporary Portraits, 2009, p. 18 Read entry
Chris Ofili’s work often makes reference to his Nigerian heritage, with images that take racial and sexual stereotypes as their subject matter. This early painting is one of a number of self-portraits painted by Ofili from 1988. It was executed while he was at Chelsea School of Art (1989-91) and is among the most compelling of these works, at once more painterly, directly observed and literal than its counterparts. It prefigures his later college-based style when self-portraiture ceased to be a subject.
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
- Face of Britain: Self (14 September 2015 - 4 January 2016)
Events of 1991back to top
Current affairsPublishing tycoon Robert Maxwell dies after falling from his yacht in the Canary Islands. Although the verdict was 'accidental death', suspicions of suicide or murder were raised because of his alleged connections to Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, and the revelation that he had used hundreds of millions of pounds from his companies' pension funds to finance his corporate debt and lavish lifestyle.
Art and scienceFreddie Mercury, lead singer of the rock group Queen, dies of Aids.
Marc Quinn brings a new meaning to the term 'Self-Portrait' with his work Self, a cast of the artists' head made out of his own blood.
InternationalMembers of the USSR sign the Alma-Ata Protocol, disbanding the Union in favour of a Commonwealth of Independent States, thereby granting independence to the various republics.
The Revolutionary United Front begins a civil war against the government of Sierra Leone in West Africa. Tens of thousands die in eleven years of violence.
Civil War breaks out in the former Yugoslavia as Slovenia and Croatia declare their independence.
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