Artist: Margaret Rose Vendryes
This limited edition print of the African Diva Project painting featured here is of the famous R&B/Funk diva Jody Watley. She is wearing a Kifwebe mask. Each square canvas in the African Diva Project is modeled after a 12-inch LP album cover featuring a portrait of a popular black female soloist. Every Diva wears an African mask, chosen for its character and/or aesthetic compatibility to her image. In Africa, masks (many depicting powerful female deities or ancestors) are worn almost exclusively by men. These dynamic female performers are given agency and protection replacing their psychological mask with a literal one. Songs - messages that once rose out of vinyl channels like black magic - are inscribed in the space that surrounds them. The original painting was created in 2011. Oil and cold wax on canvas and paper, 30 x 30 inches.