The works on view in this exhibition depict episodes from the life of the Virgin Mary radically retold by Paula Rego. During his presidency of Portugal, Jorge Sampaio invited the artist to create a series for the chapel of the Palácio de Belém. Eight works were installed in the chapel, but the final series far outweighed that number. Their importance to the artist can be measured by the fact that many have remained in her own collection; for years she kept one on her bedroom wall. A number of these additional works will be on show, alongside related watercolours. The feminism implicit in telling Mary’s story in ways it hadn’t been before is intertwined with Rego’s relationship with faith and her formative experiences under the Salazar dictatorship in a deeply Catholic country where the most proscriptive aspects of religion were felt most acutely by women. While the story may be thousands of years old, these scenes of Mary’s life are entirely of a piece with Rego’s work and the wider forces of suffering and survival, agency and resolve addressed consistently throughout the seven decades of her career. Paula Rego will also participate in The Milk of Dreams, curated by Cecilia Alemani.