The majority of her works may be categorised as ‘portraits’, but they are not portraits in the traditional sense. Rather than representing an actual person, they represent an emotion or a state of mind. Themes central to Dumas’ work include race and sexuality, guilt and innocence, violence and tenderness.
Marlene Dumas’ ‘The Cover Up’ implies an uncomfortable portrayal of the betrayal of innocence, the young figure with their clothes over their head hiding their face making the image more difficult to look at. Dumas illustrates the pain caused by dark thoughts of sexuality and exploitation in this gloomy haunting piece.
Using dark watery paints and inks creates a mysterious and hazy effect on the overall image, it can give a washed out effect which feels emotional and conveys feelings as well as the figure/subject matter itself.