The Martyr

2002 - 2004

Oil on canvas

60 x 50 cm

This is a disturbing painting, as if Dumas is angry or upset with her medium and with her subject matter, or rather with death itself. Even though from an early age she has been present at the deathbed of family members and others dear to her, Dumas has never painted their deaths. Her father died when she was twelve and she recalls that from then on she would “judge" potential boyfriends by their ability to say something meaningful about death.

In 2002 Dumas painted a lying figure covered with a blanket, on a canvas of 60 x 230 cm. In 2004, she transformed the painting into its present state, a portrait, by reducing the canvas to 60 x 50 cm.

Reflecting on this work, Dumas now says “I have always felt that in death the face becomes a mask."