Chris Ofili: Weaving Magic. Tapestry at the National Gallery

The National Gallery is currently hosting Chris Ofili’s large tapestry woven by master weavers at the Dovecot Tapestry Studio for a commission by the Clothworkers’ Company.

Weaving Magic is the exhibition of “The Caged Bird’s Song”, set in a darkened room surrounded by a monochrome painted chorus of dancers.

The original painting below is in watercolour, a subtle medium where, due to rapid drying times, you have to work fast. This fluidity has been beautifully translated into the completely different and painstakingly slow medium of tapestry weaving.
Look how the painting below has been reproduced in a massively enlarged scale and in yarn. This took several master weavers over two and a half years to produce.Here are a couple of close-ups showing the blend of yarns. Such is the level of detail I went back to scour the watercolour to check whether what I saw in the tapestry was in the painting – it was. The tapestry will move to its permanent home at the Clothworkers’ Company at the end of August so visit the Sunley Room before then if you can.