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Marisol's private dining room. Work shown: Chris Ofili, The Sorceress’ Mirror (detail), 2017. Watercolor and charcoal on paper; 23 x 41 3/10 in. (58.7 x 105 cm)

Photo: Kendall McCaugherty © MCA Chicago

Chris Ofili, The Sorceress’ Mirror


The MCA commissioned British artist Chris Ofili(b. 1968) to design an immersive artwork for Marisol. The vibrant wall painting in the private dining room is based on this watercolor study depicting a sorceress in a cave, two figures, and a mythical beast. Ofili also designed the restaurant's color scheme and the flowers and birds on the walls and windows. The work exemplifies the blending of the imagined and the real in Ofili's works.

Inspired by the room's vaulted ceiling, Ofili envisaged leaping figures traversing the curvature of the earth. The painting depicts a fleeting moment: as the group flies through the sky, the scene appears and disappears as quickly as a shooting star. The Sorceress’ Mirror can be seen as a reimagining of the landscape in Trinidad, where the artist lives and works. Ofili drew from trips he had made to Paria Bay on the north of the island, where the tide flows through a rock that has been carved by the sea to create a natural arch.