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30 May 2022

Ivor
Daniel

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New
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Jun 14th

At the Paula Rego

May 16th

Inspired by Tate Britain's

Paula Rego exhibition (2021)

               A young girl

               torments

               a pelican.


               A monkey

               proffers

               a poisoned dove.


               Some of us wear masks.


               I search for symbolism

               under the bed.


               You said that once

               you were afraid of everything.

               I don’t see that.


               Catholicism,

               dictatorship,

               finishing school,

               life.


               These everyday interiors

               where hands are tied,

               sanitised.


               A bare arm in a jackboot.


               A handbag yawns –

               so red

               inside.


               We gaze with fascinated cruelty.


               Is that a pregnant man?


               I know that you would

               order the world differently,

               if you could.


               For now,

               your paints and pastels


               interrogate

               what is wrong

               with us all.

Behind the poem...

I visited Tate Britain's Paula Rego exhibition in the summer of 2021 – my first 'real life' cultural event in 16 months. The combination of Rego’s uncompromising paintings and our wary emergence from COVID-19 lockdowns was powerful, unsettling. Here was dumb patriarchy; life under a questionable regime; the devaluation of truth in the public domain. Better to be led by artists than by donkeys.