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British painter of Nigerian descent, born in Manchester. He studied at Chelsea College of Art and Design and the *Royal College of Art. While at the latter, Ofili won a travelling scholarship to Zimbabwe. There he discovered the material which was to be his trademark, elephant dung. This was a way of linking his art to his African heritage but it was also, at first, used as a clever marketing ploy. Stickers marked ‘elephant shit’ were placed on London street furniture and two ‘shit sales’ were held (more performance pieces than actual functioning market stalls), one in Berlin and one in Brixton market. Ofili's brilliantly coloured paintings also employ glitter and map pins (the ones with bright plastic balls on the end) to produce patterns and spell out names.

Text source: A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art (Oxford University Press)

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