Mentioned as one of The Griot’s ’40 Amazing Black Artists to watch in 2014′, painter and professor in Fine Arts, Dr Margaret Rose Vendryes’s ‘African Diva Project’ reworks album covers of music’s iconic black female singers.
Looking closely at the image and portrayal of Black women in society Vendryes chooses to interpret the ‘mask’ of makeup women often wear with an actual mask – the results are striking.
Each square canvas is modeled after a 12″ LP cover featuring a full- figure portrait of a popular black female soloist. Each wears an African mask, chosen for its character and/or aesthetic compatibility to her image, painted on paper, and applied to the canvas in the place of her face. In Africa, masks (many depicting powerful female deities or ancestors) are danced almost exclusively by men. I give these dynamic female performers agency and protection replacing their psychological mask with a literal one. Songs… messages that once rose out of vinyl channels, like black magic, are inscribed in the space that surrounds them. The series includes 33 1/3 paintings.
– Dr Margaret Rosse Vendryes
artwork via Marget Rose Vendryes