Must see: Chris Ofili exhibit in NYC

Drop everything and go to the New Museum to see the exhibition “Night and Day” by Chris Ofili. It is only on view until the 25th of January so you better hurry. The exhibition of the Nigerian/British artist goes across 5 floors and gives an insight in his early work, his most popular and controversial pieces as well as his latest creations. So by ascending the floors of the museum, you participate in the artist’s creative and personal journey.

I saw Ofili’s paintings with elephant dung many many years ago in London for the very first time and I have been hooked since. Make sure you grab one of the free audio guides as you will get a wealth of information about the artist, his background and his inspirations. 1996 – the last time Ofili exhibited in NYC – mayor Rudolph Giuliani tried to stop the exhibition and even threatened the Brooklyn Museum to remove their funding, if they continue with the show. Luckily the 1st amendment prevailed and the show could go on.

One of my favorite pieces is “No Woman No Cry” – a portray of Doreen Lawrence, the mother of Steven Lawrence, a young black man who was killed by white racists in London in 1993 while waiting for a bus. The investigation was neglected due to institutionalized racism within the Metropolitan Police.

Race and the black male experience are themes that are picked-up several times in Ofili’s work. Also the longing for an “Afronirvana” as portrayed in is red/black/green images, inspired by the Pan-African flag. Again, I can only stress that you invest 1,5-2 h of your time and see this exhibition before it closes on the 25th of January.

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