Paula Rego Nanny, Small Bears and Bogeyman 1982

Artwork details

Paula Rego born 1935
Nanny, Small Bears and Bogeyman
Date 1982
Medium Acrylic paint on paper
Dimensions Support: 1200 x 1520 mm
Acquisition Presented by the Patrons of New Art through the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1984

Display caption

Rego often works on paper and in series. Most of her work involves storytelling. This work recalls memories of the artist's childhood in Portugal, with animals taking on human characteristics. The story referred to in the title was told to the artist by a friend and is based on a passage in Elias Canetti's autobiography. The author relates a scary childhood reminiscence in which his nanny's boyfriend threatens to cut out his tongue. Rego has painted the small bear tied to the nanny. She said 'the one who is most wicked is not the bogeyman but the nanny who has strapped him up. She is so possessive and horribly evil that while I was painting the front bear another little bear appeared behind it.'

September 2004

About this artwork