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Marlene Dumas

I was searching on Glenstone's website again to see their display of artworks, and I stumbled on the creations of Marlene Dumas. The one that I saw on Glenstone's page first was her artwork, labeled "Bride". However, as I dug deeper into her extensive artworks, I found one that resonated with both me and fit the perception of this blog. Below is a photo of Evil is Banal, painted in 1985.

Dumas starts off her theme of separation from her culture and livelihood with Evil is Banal. This painting, its intent is to convey the difference between her race (a white woman) living in South Africa during the apartheid. The strategically placed colors of the pose, hair, and especially the hand and face are used to express the encroachment on her moral decay and mental desperation. When Dumas was able to leave for South Africa for Amsterdam, she felt more free with easier access to more familiarities seen within her current works.


However, reaching back to

The White Disease, the painting becomes an extension of Dumas's original feelings in Evil is Banal.

The painting, seen on the right, highlights the increased decay of her country through the extensive violence, and the disfigured woman represents the constant changes South Africa (her birthplace) endured. The sickness represents the racism and discrimination within South Africa, and how it has led to extreme cruelty in the treatment of humans. Because both Evil is Banal and The White Disease share the same theme, I like to think of them both as a progression of the same idea- the first, focuses on how the apartheid has affected herself, and the second is how it affected others. Dumas highlights an important message of the moral decay that discrimination brings to everyone in society, not just to the group discriminated against.


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