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Rego stated that ‘to do a picture I always need a story to start with, although as I go along the story may change or the picture may change’. The story referred to here was told to Rego by a friend and is based on Elias Canetti’s autobiography in which his nanny’s boyfriend threatens to cut out his tongue. Rego explained: ‘the one who is most wicked is not the bogeyman but the nanny who has strapped him [the bear] up. She is so possessive and horribly evil that while I was painting the front bear another little bear appeared behind it.’

September 2016