The African Diva Project: 2005-2014, presents the collection of paintings by the artist Margaret Rose Vendryes. This limited edition, 24-page catalog is signed by the artist. A CD of 16 original mixes, Family of Divaz, by Damian Cohen is also included. The catalog's endpapers feature a collage by the artist Sir Froderick.
Vendryes draws on her life experience and academic training in art history to revisit and revise familiar imagery that speaks to evolving views on beauty, gender, race and power. THE AFRICAN Diva Project was inspired by Margaret Rose Vendryes' painting Donnalyn Summeroe, completed in 2007. The first "Diva" depicts an African mask on the face of Donna Summer posed as Marilyn Monroe. Thereafter Vendryes completed a series of 33 1/3 square canvases entitled "Side A" that range in size from 30" x 30" to a 60" x 60" diptych, as well as the 60" x 30" one-third that completes the set. Each square canvas is modeled after a 12" LP cover featuring a full-figure portrait of a popular black female soloist. Each wears a painted African mask, chosen for its character and/or aesthetic compatibility to her image, painted on paper, and applied to the canvas. The background graffiti on "Side A" contains song titles by the artist.
"Side B," currently in progress, contains actual hand-carved African masks attached to the canvas rather than painted on the canvas as in Side A, and rather than song titles the paintings include the lyrics to one of the artists' well-known songs inscribed in Vendryes own hand.