Marlene Dumas is a South African-born artist and painter who now lives and creates her works in Amsterdam. In her early career, Dumas started by producing paintings, collages and installations. Now, her sole medium is oil on canvas and ink on paper. While studying at the University of Amsterdam, Dumas was painting with heads and figures as her subjects. After she had her first daughter, Dumas was inspired by the experience and began to focus on images associated with pregnancy and babies. In her depictions of new born babies, such as her piece titled ‘The First People’, Dumas creates raw images which are far from the interests of those who enjoy aesthetic art. Her pieces features babies with crinkly skin, inflated bellies and deformed fingers and toes.
Over time, Marlene Dumas has covered a range of subjects in her works, such as family portraits, Naomi Campbell and Osama Bin Laden. She creates distorted images in thinning out her paint, which can sometimes create an air of discomfort and unease for the viewer. In smudging the faces of her subjects, there is a sense of both the personal and political in her pieces. Dumas is also a writer and she writes poems, passages and essays to accompany her work.