South African artist Marlene Dumas’ portrait paintings depicts the unglorified side of life; the mundane, sometimes morbid, mostly saddened, dispossessed expressions. Sprinkled with some overtly sexual gestures, they depict a human existence bent and shaped by an overwhelming invisible external force.
The Black Drawings (1992) which depict portraits of black people, and all the cultural feelings associated with this race of people, are presumably taken from polaroids arranged in a grid-like pattern. This is reminiscent of people catalogs, data bases of mugshots, which condemns them in a way before knowing anything else about them, and this grid arrangement was repeated in Chlorosis Love Sick (1994); a series of water-coloured bald women, Models (1994); a motley group of water-coloured men and women and Rejects (1994); the ones from Models (1994) that Dumas didn’t like, at first.
“Actually I’ve been busy with these two questions all my life – Why am I here and should I be here? ” Marlene Dumas 2012