Margaret Rose Vendryes
Jamaican-American (b. 1955)
Bete Toni, 2020
Oil with cold wax on canvas, wood mask
Bete Toni is a work from the artist’s African Diva Project, which explores the role of gender in African cultures and in contemporary society. Each painting features a Black female music legend wearing an African tribal mask. While these masks are traditionally danced by men – even when representing female deities or ancestors – Vendryes uses them to empower the divas, giving these dynamic female performers agency and protection by replacing their psychological masks with literal ones.