African Diva Project By Margaret Rose Vendryes

Margaret Rose Vendryes is a Jamaican-born painter who has had a desire to create for as long as she could remember!


The painter brings us the The African Diva Project - a project offering a replication of the 12" LP cover art featuring pioneer Black female soloist such as Grace Jones, Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker, Tina Turner, Whitney Houston and more. The women's faces are replaced with painted African masks - each mask is appropriated to the different women based on their character and/or aesthetic compatibility. 


In Africa, masks (many depicting powerful female deities or ancestors) are danced almost exclusively by men. I give these dynamic female performers agency and protection replacing their psychological mask with a literal one. Songs... messages that once rose out of vinyl channels, like black magic, are inscribed in the space that surrounds them.  – Margaret Rose Vendryes


The African Diva Project is a celebration of womanhood, strength and its message and meaning - one of empowerment! Vendryes' cross-modern use of the masks is interesting and can also educational depending on one's level of curiosity. Having spend the early years of my life in the Ivory Coast, I was able to recognise a few masks from my eclectic culture, such as the Baule, Dyula  (Ivory Coast); Bobo, Mossi (Burkina Faso) and Malinke (Mali). 


Can you recognise and identify any of these masks?