Chris Ofili

Blue Devils

2014

On display at Tate Britain

Artist
Chris Ofili born 1968
Medium
Oil paint and charcoal on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 2797 x 1985 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the artist 2014
Reference
T14031

Online caption

This work draws from the character of the blue devil in folklore from Trinidad, where Ofili lives. At carnival time, people from the town of Paramin dress up as devils and cover themselves in blue paint terrorising onlookers with blood, snakes and frogs. In the tradition of carnival, these blue ‘devils’ have permission to behave in a menacing and intrusive manner that would normally be prohibited by society. Ofili associates them with the ‘boys in blue’, the British police. The barely discernible images in the painting suggest a misconduct occurring in a state of near invisibility.

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