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Painting by Margaret Rose Vendryes: Punu Thelma, African Divas, represented by Childs Gallery

Margaret Rose Vendryes

Jamaican-American (b. 1955)

Punu Thelma, African Divas, 2010
Oil and cold wax on canvas and paper
30×30IN.CM

“Signed, titled and dated verso: “”Punu Thelma – African Diva – 2010 MRVendryes””. Punu Thelma (featuring Thelma Houston wearing a Punu mask) is a work from the artist’s African Diva Project, which explores the role of gender in African cultures and in contemporary society. Each square canvas is modeled after an LP cover featuring 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.”

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