Paula Rego’s uncompromising figurative work forces viewers into direct confrontation with human relationships and the social, sexual, and emotional power dynamics that often define them. Using strategies of parody, theatricality, and storytelling, Rego’s formally complex and psychologically charged domestic scenes, which can be as equally tender as they are distressing, centre the experiences of women in a world shaped by conflict. Deeply affected by her early life in Portugal under the dictatorship of Prime Minister António de Oliveira Salazar, she addresses the oppression and institutional violence towards women under political tyranny. In her mature work of the 1990s and 2000s, Rego intertwines references to Portuguese fairy tales, Disney princesses, and the biting satire of Francisco Goya and Honoré Daumier with autobiographical elements. Her celebrated Dog Woman Series, initiated in 1994, portrays women behaving and posturing like dogs in highly sexualised contortions. In Sleeper (1994), a woman is splayed on top of a blazer on the floor, with a plate of food nearby, implicitly asking if the figure is being punished or cared for. With imagery recalling difficult stories of seduction, rape, and infanticide, Oratório (2008–2009) reconfigures assumptions about who should receive the public’s devotion. In her recent series Seven Deadly Sins (2019), Rego revives her interest in making cloth dolls as a form of sculpture, extending her fascination with parables to three-dimensional forms.