all photos courtesy of the artist, except where otherwise noted

In a series of drawings published in 2011 (Figs. 1–4), René Tavares expresses his experience of the Tchiloli, a drama endemic to São Tomé and Príncipe which is intertwined with his own artistic development. In this work, paintings and drawings exchange roles in a continued masquerade spread across blank white pages where, like erratic thoughts, gestures interrupt each other, wander and digress into diluted stains of colour.

In one of these images, we can see a figure on the left, possibly the emperor Charlemagne,1 wearing a crown and a red cloak, whose face blends with a dark stain in the background (Fig. 1). In the foreground, slightly to the right, stands the count de Ganelon, the empress's brother, heading somewhere to the right of the observer. Where his face should be, we find...

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