Published  04/10/2001

Paula Rego in Kendal

Paula Rego in Kendal

One of the best events of the summer, out of London (through 7 October) has been the exhibition, at the Abbot Hall Gallery, Kendal, in the Lake District, of works completed in the last three years by the Portugese painter Paula Rego. Arguably Rego is enjoying her own Indian summer at age 66, seemingly at the height of her powers. But these works do not portray any idyllic scenes. The drawings, pastels and etchings in one of the rooms are devoted entirely to young girls having abortions. This is a particular protest of Rego against the Portugese electorate’s own rejection by poll of moves to legalise the act of abortion. Other rooms reveal family scenes and beyond, a world of Rego, no less real – if seemingly traumatic in the sublime pastures and moorlands around Kendal – until one realises that within a short mileage of Kendal burn the holocausts of foot-and-mouth cattle slaughter, and the resultant family tensions of the ruined farmers.

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