As a child in the suburbs of Lisbon, Paula Rego was not yet directly aware of the Salazar regime that commenced shortly before she was born in 1935. Her recollections of childhood fear are instead filtered through the world of fantasy, a combination of menacing folk stories that filled her head with fantastical pictures, and graphic depictions of torment such as Gustav Doré’s illustrations for The Divine Comedy.
“I’m not attracted to scary stories,” Rego explains. “I don’t pick them as my inspiration but fear creeps in uninvited. Portuguese folk tales are particularly scary. The way they hurt people and the way that people hurt themselves, like the story of the woman who cuts off her breasts to feed her husband. When she runs out of bits to chop off he says he’s going to start on the children. My father often showed me those pictures of Gustav Doré. To educate me I guess. The drawings were horrific but sitting next to him while he showed them to me was a special pleasure.”
Read more at iNews.uk