Art - Diaspora: “African Diva Project" by Margaret Rose Vendreyes.
If any of the above images look in any way familiar, that’s because these artworks are based on some of the most iconic album covers from some of the greatest black women artists of the 20th century.
From Betty Davis and Tina Turner, to Grace Jones and Nina Simone, this series by Jamaican-born Vendreyes includes 33 paintings modeled after a 12” LP full-figure portrait of a black woman soloist. What makes this project stand out, however, is not simply the homage to these legendary women, but the masks that each woman wears. Named after specific African ethnic groups such as Malinke, Ibibio, Kwele and Yoruba, Vendreyes combines the beauty and power of these women with the same characteristics in these masks, “replacing their psychological mask with a literal one”.
This symbolic gesture also plays on the fact that in many African societies, although these masks may be of female ancestors and deities, they are only worn and performed by men during masquerades.
What are your thoughts on this series?
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