ROBERTA FLACK
Mallica “Kapo” Reynolds
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  • ROBERTA FLACK
  • Mallica “Kapo” Reynolds (1911–1989)
  • Jamaica
  • 1970
  • Oil on canvas
  • 24 1/2 x 20 1/2 in.
  • American Folk Art Museum, gift of Maurice C. and Patricia L. Thompson, 2003.20.6
  • The Jamaican artist Mallica Reynolds, known as Kapo, said, “I believe in beauty. I’m talking about the beauty of the earth. I’m talking about the beauty of women.” Kapo is best known for his charged sculptures, vibrant landscapes, and religious paintings. He also painted a number of portraits. In this work he chose to portray the popular, beautiful African American singer Roberta Flack, who was his patron for many years after meeting him in Kingston. The artist presents Flack dramatically, with her face divided by strong contrasts of light and shadow.

    Kapo adopted his name following a religious conversion experience at age 12. He served as the leader of a Zion Revival sect and was ordained as patriarch Bishop of St. Michael’s Revival Apostolic Tabernacle of Kingston in 1976, a position he held until his death, in 1989. Devoted to religious belief and practice, Kapo believed that God directed him to carve and paint, and that his art and religion were intertwined with nature. Kapo received international recognition and artistic acknowledgment within his own country during his lifetime.
  • Photo by Gavin Ashworth