Popcorn Shells by Chris Ofili, 1995

Popcorn Shells (1995/1995) by Chris OfiliArts Council Collection

Black popular culture

'Popcorn Shells' comes from a series of paintings about music that sample the heroes of jazz, hip hop, rap and black popular culture, mixing them up with overtly decorative African art. Just as jazz is a fusion of musical, cultural and personal influences, this painting fuses together the artist's perceptions of its origins and development, mapping out a family tree of musicians.

Chris Ofili identifies the stars of the genre and illustrates their inspirations;

a wreath of little heads, for example, rings a larger reproduction of Aretha Franklin.

'Popcorn Shells' takes a scrapbook approach to history and culture; like a jazz musician, Ofili replays familiar tunes in his own personal style.

Layering photographic images, resin dots, glitter and paint, he also adds another signature element:

lumps of elephant dung.

Balanced against the wall, 'Popcorn Shells' rests on two dung props. More than just a cultural signifier, the dung (itself lacquered with a glittering resin) unceremoniously breaks up the decorative aesthetic in Ofili's paintings.

View other Arts Council Collection works by Chris Ofili

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Google apps