Who is Paula Rego?
Paula Rego is a Portuguese-British visual artist whose work style has evolved from Abstract to Representational over her sixty-year career. Her imaginative power has revolutionised how women are represented in art, and her work often reflects feminism alongside folk themes from her native Portugal.
Rego was born on 26th January 1935 in Lisbon, Portugal. At the time, the Estado Novo (New State) controlled the country, suppressing political freedom and drastically limiting the rights of women. Rego’s anti-fascist father and mother moved to England in 1936 for work, leaving the young Paula in Portugal with her grandmother. Rego learned many Portuguese folk-tales from her grandmother, many of which later made their way into her artwork.
After moving to London. Rego’s art career officially began in 1962, when she began exhibiting with 'The London Group', an art society based in the capital city. Founded in 1913, many British artists have joined as members, including Vanessa Bell (1879-1961), Sir Frank Bowling (b. 1934), Sir Jacob Epstein (1880-1959), Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-75), David Hockney (b. 1937), L. S. Lowry (1887-1976), and Walter Sickert (1860-1942).
Rego’s most recent works (21st century) focus on abusive acts, such as the trafficking of women, female genital mutilation, and other appalling news stories. Rego wishes to open the public’s eyes, hoping someone, anyone, will do something about these atrocities.