▷ Paula Rego exhibition review

18 members of the Exhibitions and Galleries Group recently visited Tate Britain to see the work of the extraordinary Portuguese-British artist Paula Rego, still working in her Camden studio at the age of 86. Many of the paintings made for uncomfortable viewing, depicting graphically the backstreet abortions to which many Portuguese women resorted prior to reform of the law in 2007. There were also paintings showing the horrors of torture under the repressive Salazar regime, colonialism and racism in countries such as Angola and Mozambique, and FGM and trafficking of women to bring Rego’s activism up to date. An underlying characteristic of all Rego’s work is its narrative quality, showing her lifelong fascination with stories ranging from British and Portuguese fairy tales to classics such as Peter Pan, Snow White and Alice in Wonderland. Prior to the exhibition, most people watched the documentary made by Rego’s son, Nick Willing, Paula Rego, Secrets and Stories. Broadcast on BBC Four on 10 August, it is still available on iPlayer for a very limited period.

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