Part of a series of ‘family narratives’ made by Rego in the late 1980s, the policeman’s daughter is shown cleaning her father’s boot, her arm thrust deep into it. Each piece in this series of works shows physically dominant female protagonists as the catalysts of action, and personal relationships are shown in an ambiguous and unsettling manner. The symbolism of the military boot, dutiful daughter trope and the black cat in the corner all provide the viewer with plenty to think on.
The Policeman's Daughter
Date of work
Original: Gouache on paper700 x 500 mmCalouste Gulbenkian Foundation © Paula Rego
Paula Rego was born in Lisbon, Portugal in 1935 and has travelled between London and Portugal throughout her life. She studied painting at the Slade School of Fine Art, London, and throughout her career she has revolutionised the way in which women are represented, playing a key role in redefining figurative art in the UK and internationally. Her early paintings in Portugal were semi-abstract, sometimes applied to violent or political subjects that revealed a love of story-telling that had been awakened in her as a child by folk-tales related by a great-aunt. She is drawn to subjects that are well known, and takes her imagery from sources as varied as Peter Pan and Mary Magdalene. Her work is part of many public collections, including Tate’s collection.