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My pictures inspired by The Crime of Father Amaro

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I belong in my studio
Paula Rego Artist
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I presume I’m grounded in Portugal, although I don’t belong there anymore, you see. And I don’t belong here really, either, so I belong in the studio, and I belong in London, because I love London, really do. I like everything in it, except I... you see these violent things no, but I love... I like going shopping in Harvey Nichols, I love going to the shops, I love going to the... to the galleries obviously, and I like... I like London, and I like Kentish Town, all of it, yeah, I do. Not... I don’t know Clapham so well, more down south, but I do like London. ‘Cause I belong here, you know, I belong here. And... and Portugal as well, or course, actually, 'cause a lot of stories come from there.

I think we talked there...I... I don’t know, 'cause... when you’re working, if it’s a... if it’s on canvas, are you... you don’t use easels; you work... how do you... where do you put the pictures when they’re large like that?

I work... ... large like that. I stand on a... on a platform. I’ve got a platform that goes up and down, and I stand on the platform, and look on... on the object I’m doing or the person I’m doing, so that I can get to the top of the canvas, and then I work down, and so I start like that. That’s how I can reach the top, otherwise I couldn’t, you know; I don’t make a hole in the ground, I stand up. I did all the... all the dancing ostriches from Walt Disney’s Fantasia, I did them all standing on... on this platform, and Lila would pose down below, in various positions, longing for... to be kissed in the morning and nothing coming, my dear. And then... she’s a bit past it, you see, not Lila, but the ostrich was a bit past it, so she wouldn’t get any hugs in the morning, but there was nobody there. So if she pretended though, and she was still, you know, willing to make the gestures, and everything, do a bit of dancing, rather ridiculous, you see.

Portuguese painter Paula Rego, became part of the London Group in 1965, was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1989 and became the first Associate Artist of the National Gallery in London in 1990. Her work is strongly influenced by folk and fairy tales, especially those of her homeland.

Listeners: Catherine Lampert

Catherine Lampert is an independent curator, art historian and Visiting Professor at the University of the Arts. She was director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery (1988-2001) and has been a model for Frank Auerbach since 1978. Her recent projects include exhibitions of Rodin (Royal Academy 2006) and Lucian Freud (Dublin, Denmark and The Hague 2007-2008) as well as a book on Francis Alys (Turner Libros) and a catalogue raisonné of Euan Uglow's paintings (Yale University Press 2007).

Duration: 2 minutes, 15 seconds

Date story recorded: August 2007

Date story went live: 17 July 2008