Margaret Rose Vendryes is an artist, historian and curator whose subjects, in her imaginative and gender focused exhibit, The Africa Diva Project, are all strong, black, female solo artists. She explores the role of gender in African and contemporary society through these music legends. The images of the women are taken from their vinyl album covers and surrounded by song lyrics but their faces are covered with exquisite African masks, traditionally worn only by men.
Tina Turner, Grace Jones, Anita Baker, Diana Ross, Beyonce, Nancy Wilson, and first diva Donna Summer are among some of the extraordinary singers this artist has captured on paper and canvas, and they immediately strike you as beautiful and powerful. In the music business, getting to the top as a female solo artist is a tough road but Margaret actually sees them as being very vulnerable.
“By wearing these masks, I’m giving them protection and creating a persona that gives them a sense of power and respect,” says Margaret, “in a sense connecting them back to their cultural legacy, the performance of Africa.”
This is her first commercial gallery show and the paintings can be seen through July14th at Child’s Gallery on Newbury Street. Child’s curator Richard Baiano is such a fan he owns the Nancy Wilson, draped in a stunning yellow, floor length gown. Margaret began the series in 2005 and the oil and cold wax paintings, priced from $8,000-$15,000, have taken up to 5 mos to complete.
Top photo by Darren Stahlman
Carol Beggy has a big Rolodex (remember those?) and is not afraid to use it. She loves books and other Old World pursuits but lives totally in the modern world where you carry a thousand books on your e-reader. A former reporter and editor at the Boston Globe, Carol is currently working with Bill Brett on his book “Boston: Irish” due out in Fall 2014. It is their fifth collaboration. She likes pina coladas, dancing in the rain and talking to people on elevators about what they are reading.
JL: You used to live off the grid. No ID. No passport. Traveling only by car and train. Has seeing the world changed you?
It definitely changed my life. It introduced me to subcultures that I never would’ve had any knowledge of and just showed me there was more to the culture of the United States than chain stores and strip stores and suburbs. There is a genuine non-commercialized culture out there that exists for the sake of existing. It’s genuine culture. I have a hard time describing it. Going to beautiful places. You’re muted by the experience. When I first started touring I was very nihilistic and didn’t really think there’d be a future and relished in the idea of an apocalypse and now I would hate to see that happen to the Earth. I think that’d be terrible.
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