Robert Colescott

   Standing Demoiselles 1986
  charcoal on paper each 105 x 42 in

"Picasso's 'Les Demoiselles D'Avignon' is a fascinating work - I was always drawn to its complexity, its ingenious combination of classical caryatid figures with african art, especially the african mask. It is a seminal work for the art of this century, and oddly enough, it is also a work of appropriation. So, I thought, why not turn it around? Why not point back to the source? I intended to subvert Picasso's adaptation of tribal iconography - to deappropriate it, so to speak - by making that source explicit. "Les Demoiselles" became african women. The process resulted in two large paintings that pay homage to the influence of african art via Picasso. - from a conversation with the editors.