Paula Rego, The Policeman’s Daughter, 1987

The cat is the lookout. These domestic animals have often been associated with darkness and seen as evil accomplices (think Bond villain Blofeld and his Persian, Smurf foe Gargamel and his cat Azrael, Doctor Claw and MAD Cat from Inspector Gadget, the list goes on). We see the policeman’s daughter vigorously cleaning her father’s boots. Her face expresses disdain. Is she plotting revenge? Is she sabotaging those boots? As with many of Rego’s paintings of women in domestic spaces, the narrative is ambiguous and unsettling.

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