Untitled [Abortion], 2000Paula Rego

Untitled [Abortion], 2000

Etching with aquatint, on Somerset white wove
Signed and numbered from the edition of 100
Printed by Paupers Press, London
Plate: 20 × 29.7 cm (7.9 × 11.7 in)
Sheet: 51 × 39 cm (20 × 15.3 in)

Untitled [Abortion], 2000
Untitled [Abortion], 2000

In 1998 Rego embarked on a series of eight etchings devoted to the theme of abortion, triggered by the referencum in Portugal to allow abortion. The present etching was conceived in 2000, but only a few trial proofs were printed at Culford Press. The edition was concluded in 2019.

Each of the etchings in the series is full of the same powerful, visceral, physical and psychological charge. What Rego communicates so vividly in draftsmanship of great skill and power is the sprawling postures of humiliation and indignity and the pain, the sense of loss, the squalor of plastic buckets. Ungainly, uncomfortably sprawled or crouching, subjected to indignity and pain, the young women are strong, courageous and defiant. Above all, in these images Rego conveys the sense of purpose, of eventual freedom, even if at a terrible price. In Rego’s words, the women are ‘triumphant’, these ‘are not pictures of victims’.

T. G. Rosenthal, Paula Rego: The Complete Graphic Work (London: Thames & Hudson, 2012), 149.