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Rachel Newsome

Rachel Newsome wrote one of several features on Chris Ofili, that appeared in Dazed & Confused magazine. The issue was No. 48, November 1998, pp. 74 - 80. The feature included a photograph of Ofili by artist Wolfgang Tillmans. The text was lavishly illustrated with a number of reproductions of Ofili’s paintings of this period, which famously featured, as something of a trademark, balls of elephany dung, either as props on which the paintings rested, or as adornment within the paintings themselves. The issue in which Afro Daze appeared came out just at the time that Ofili’s important solo exhibition at the Serpentine, was closing. The exhibition was mentioned in the opening sentence of the text.

The feature was introduced as follows: Turned on by Tina Turner, Lil’ Kim, Diana Ross, Foxy Brown, Biggie Smalls, Tupac, Snoop Doggy, Puff Daddy, Muhammed (sic) Ali. Hooked on beauty, African-influenced dots, semi-logical patterns, bright tangerine, moss green, pale lemon, deep purple, porno red, porn, streetlife, the illicit, a glimpse of glamour… and elephant dung. Educated on modernism, David Hammons, Jean-Michel Basquiat, William Blake and The Bible. A second generation, black British Mancunian living in London. Urban imagist, meta imagist, cultural conceptualist, creative structuralist, there is something of the apocalyptic in the visual predicate calculus of Chris Ofili: it’s a late ‘90s thing.

Following an introduction, the text takes the form of an exchange between CO and D&C. From the exchange: D&C: Yes, surely all culture comes from the grass roots. It’s got to.

CO: I think people underestimate the ghetto. I think it’s almost one step ahead. By the time it’s reached the so-called mainstream, the grassroots are onto something completely different.

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Article relating to an individual, 1998