Marlene Dumas

I love the gestural brushstrokes and the thin washes of paint / watercolour / ink to create this distinctive appearance. She is exploring the complexities of identity, raising awareness on social & political issue by collecting from her personal collection and the print media. Looking at her background of being born in South Africa, she is confronting themes like racial and ethnic identity.

The majority of her works may be categorised as ‘portraits”, but they are not portraits in the traditional sense. Rather than representing an actual person, they represent an emotion or a state of mind.

Race and sexuality, guilt and innocence, violence and tenderness.

Marlene Dumas, Naomi, 1995
Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Swedish artist Anna Bjerger commented “A good figurative painting does something to you, surprises you, takes you somewhere different, is convincing and generous. A good painting often leaves you speechless,” she said. Like her peers, Bjerger also ties a figurative painting’s merit to the response it elicits in an individual. She admires the paintings of Marlene Dumas, whose work “feels naked yet lush”; the South African painter “manages to transcend meaning in a way that never feels blunt,” Bjerger said.


+ who are the subject matters that i’m depicting? what similarities do they share? + what culture / social aspect that i am interested in?

+ how do i create a signature voice that elicit a reaction in the viewer?

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