The Hidden Message in 'No Woman, No Cry'

See Chris Ofili's work in a new light

By Google Arts & Culture

No Woman, No Cry - view in lightTate Britain

This work by British artist Chris Ofili explores the racist murder of London teenager Stephen Lawrence in 1993. Ofili was deeply moved by Doreen Lawrence’s dignity throughout the public enquiry into her son’s death.

If you look closely, you can see the painting contains collaged pictures of Stephen within the teardrops. But this painting also contains another message, made more visible with the absence of light. Let's take a look...

No Woman, No Cry - view in darknessTate Britain

Viewed in darkness, the words ‘R.I.P. Stephen Lawrence’ are shown in phosphorescent paint, glowing beneath the other layers of paint.

Google Arts & Culture were fortunate that Chris Ofili was keen to participate in this project. He came to the Gigapixel capture session and advised the technical and editorial staff about some of the fascinating and complex aspects of the painting.

This proved a serious technical challenge, but was met by an enthusiastic team and some creative use of lighting. The session ended near dawn, with the team proud of their work and deeply appreciative of both the artist’s efforts on the canvas, and of the meanings generated.

No Woman, No Cry - view in lightTate Britain

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