Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art History


General Art History

Committee Chair

Earnestine Jenkins

Committee Member

Todd Richardson

Committee Member

Fred Albertson


Chris Ofili's "The Holy Virgin Mary," the Black Female Form, and the Problem of Postmodern Scholarship, explores the problems of postmodern scholarship in the visual arts by analyzing "The Holy Virgin Mary" by Chris Ofili and the circumstances involving the Sensation exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum in 1999. I placeOfili's work in context and make the claim that Ofili's work is largely an examination of his dual identities as a Catholic and person of African descent. I explore the larger cultural context by examining the black female figure in Ofili's work and in other postmodern artists dealing with similar themes. In this thesis, I argue that postmodern scholarship of African Diaspora artists too often focuses merely on the biographical information of the artists as a shallow celebration of multiculturalism and ignores the work and its context. In this thesis I present a more in-depth analysis of "The Holy Virgin Mary" and attempt to offer solutions to the problem of postmodern scholarship.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.