Chris Ofili shows off his CBE. | Photo by John Stillwell/AFP/Getty Images

 

EXCEPTIONAL BRITISH CITIZENS were bestowed with royal honors at Buckingham Palace last week. In January, artist Chris Ofili was announced among Order of the British Empire honorees for 2017. He received a CBE or “Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire” for services to art at an investiture ceremony on April 19. Polar Explorer Lt. Col. Henry Worsley (posthumously), Academy and Tony Award-winning actor Mark Rylance, Designer Victoria Beckham, Olympic heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill, and three para-athletes, were also recognized.

British-born Ofili lives and works in Trinidad. The painter came to prominence about two decades ago, winning the Turner Prize in 1998 at age 30. He was the first black artist to be chosen for the honor. Ofili is represented by Victoria Miro in London. The gallery says his work features “painterly and cultural elements—both sacred and profane, personal and political, from high art and popular culture – come together to play on ideas of beauty while carrying messages about black culture, history and exoticism.”

“Night and Day,” his first major solo museum show in the United States, opened at the New Museum in New York in 2014. The mid-career survey presented more than 30 large-scale paintings, along with watercolors, drawings and sculpture. His first museum commission in the United States is a large-scale, site specific mural that will influence the look and feel throughout a new restaurant at MCA Chicago. Ofili is creating the environmental vision for the redesigned dining space, slated to open this summer.

 

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Chris Ofili, “Triple Beam Dreamer,” 2001–02 (acrylic, oil, leaves, glitter, polyester resin, map pins, and elephant dung on linen) | Courtesy the artist, David Zwirner, New York/London, and Victoria Miro, London. © Chris Ofili

 

LATER THIS WEEK IN LONDON, a handwoven tapestry by Ofili will be installed at the National Gallery. Commissioned by the Clothworkers’ Company, the artist collaborated with Dovecot Tapestry Studios on the textile, his first-ever. Following the exhibition, “Chris Ofili: Weaving Magic,” the tapestry will be displayed permanently at Clothworkers’ Hall in London.

According to a report in The Guardian, Ofili said receiving the CBE was particularly meaningful because of his parents’ decision to move to England from Nigeria more than 40 years ago,

“We set up our life in England and it’s so special to be recognized for what I do in England and Britain, and for my parents that they made a great choice and invested so much in me. It feels as though I have achieved a lot,” Ofili said.

“We set up our life in England and it’s so special to be recognized for what I do in England and Britain, and for my parents that they made a great choice and invested so much in me. It feels as though I have achieved a lot.” — Chris Ofili

Victoria Miro is opening a new gallery in Venice in May. The debuts coincides with the 57th Venice Biennale. “Poolside Magic,” the gallery’s inaugural exhibition, features a suite of pastel, charcoal and watercolour works on paper by Ofili, being shown together for the first time. CT

 


CHRIS OFILI, “Poolside Magic 8,” 2012 (charcoal, watercolour and pastel on paper). | via Victoria Miro Gallery, London

 

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Exhibition Catalog Cover Image: CHRIS OFILI, “Ovid-Desire,” 2011–12 (oil, pastel, and charcoal on linen). | Courtesy the artist, David Zwirner, New York/London, and Victoria Miro, London. © Chris Ofili

 

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CHRIS OFILI, “Untitled (Afromuse),” 1995–2005 (watercolor and pencil on paper). | Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner, New York/London. © Chris Ofili

 

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CHRIS OFILI, “The Adoration of Captain Shit and the Legend of the Black Stars (Third Version),” 1998 (oil, acrylic, polyester resin, paper collage, glitter, map pins, and elephant dung on linen). | Courtesy the artist, David Zwirner, New York/London, and Victoria Miro, London. © Chris Ofili

 

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CHRIS OFILI, “Confession (Lady Chancellor),” 2007 (oil on linen). | Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner, New York/London. © Chris Ofili