Image of two (male and female) black figures, three-quarter length, facing three-quarter frontal, he in tuxedo, she in bright green shoulderless dress standing slightly to left, above, to the right a bright gold moon in a red sky/background. The eyes of the figures also picked out in gold.
Attribution note: The print was produced to celebrate Ofili's election to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale 2003
Reason For Production: Retail
Chris Ofili is one of the best-known artists working in Britain today. He is also black. His work has been extremely popular but also controversial, particularly for his use of elephant dung as a material in his paintings, and for his presentation of stereotypes. His treatment of the black figure has been a mixture of parody, irony and reverence. He confronts his public with images that clearly refer to 'blaxploitation' movies, golliwogs, and so on. By doing so he asserts the idea that 'black' art itself does not have to fit stereotypes and conventional expectations in order to merit visibility and inclusion.
In 2003 Ofili was chosen to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale. By then, he was already working with imagery that referred to African nationalism in a series of figure paintings, predominantly red, green and black. (These are the colours of the Pan-African flag or the Standard of the Universal Negro Improvement Association flag, devised in 1920 by the father of Black Nationalism, Marcus Garvey.) Continuing this theme, the Venice pictures took on an overtly romantic air, with a loving black couple featuring in most of them. Despite the irony, the images are both tender and complex. This print, produced in collaboration with the Victoria Miro gallery, captures the translucent and luminous qualities of the paintings.