Paula Rego | Obedience and Defiance

Until Sun 19 Apr 2020

Open daily, 10am-5pm

Full price £11.50 (£10.50 online). Concessions available
25 & under £7.50 (£6.50 online)


“Here, we see her fierce and fearless engagement with the world around her, carried out with consummate skill and singular vision”
The Scotsman

“I absolutely love this exhibition”
Kelly Apter, BBC Radio Scotland Tuesday Review

“A powerful response to the last half-century from a fiercely feminist perspective”
The List

Paula Rego: Obedience and Defiance is a survey of the Portuguese artist’s work that brings politics to the fore.

This major exhibition is the first ever retrospective of Paula Rego’s work to be held in Scotland. Rego is one of the most important artists living in Britain today. Born in Lisbon in 1935, she is celebrated for her intense and courageous paintings, drawings and prints. The exhibition spans over 50 years of her international career, from the 1960s to the 2010s. It features more than 80 works, lent from public and private collections. Rego is admired for her courageous exploration of moral challenges to humanity, such as political tyranny, gender discrimination, abortion, female genital mutilation and the death of civilians in war. Other works in the exhibition begin with her Portuguese roots and lived experiences, or respond to current affairs and stories from literature, cinema, folklore, mythology and art history. The exhibition is curated by independent curator Catherine Lampert.

“I always want to turn things on their heads, to upset the established order”
Find out more about Paula Rego in this extensive interview she gave to The Scotsman in 2019.

Please note that this exhibition addresses challenging subjects and includes images of a suggestive and / or graphic nature. Parental and carer discretion may be required.

The exhibition organised by MK Gallery, Milton Keynes with the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin.

Obedience and Defiance has captured the imagainations of our visitors and sparked comment and debate. Here's just some of the comments they have shared with us on social media and in our visitor books.

"Love the different mediums. Paula Rego is a brave woman. She speaks for female minorities and people with the same political belief. Some of her works are hauntingly beautiful."
Yan, Hong Kong

"Inspirational. Wonderful to find new work"
Sally, Hereford

"My mind was not broken until I saw Paula Rego. This was a beautiful break"
Graham, London

"Fascinating. Astonishing use of pastels on such a large scale. A truly talented artist" 
Lorna, Hadleigh

"Haunting, beautiful and urgent work, thoughtfully presented. Incredibly moving"
Emily, Leeds

Image: Paula Rego, Painting Him Out, 2011. Private Collection. © Copyright Paula Rego, Courtesy Marlborough Fine Art.




In partnership with

Ticket Table


Type of ticket Price
Full £10.50
Children (12 & under) £0.00
25 & under £6.50
Students £8.50
Visitors aged 60+ £8.50
Visitors with disabilities £8.50
Carers of visitors with disabilities £0.00
Unemployed / Supported income £8.50
National Art Pass £5.25
National Art Pass concession £4.25


Gallery facilities

The Changing Places toilet is located in the rear car park of Modern One with accessible parking spaces located nearby. The unit is open 9am-5pm, every day, a key is not required.

A full accessibility guide is available at www.accessibilityguides.org for Modern One and Modern Two.

  • Information desk
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair access
  • Accessible toilets
  • Changing places toilet
  • Wheelchairs available
  • Public toilets
  • On-site parking (£2)
  • Disabled parking
  • Lockers (£1/£2)
  • Baby changing facilities
  • Seating throughout
  • Bike rack

Getting here

The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is located 15 minutes’ walk from Princes Street. It includes two buildings, Modern One and Modern Two, set in a beautiful sculpture park.

In addition to the transport options below there are bike racks at each site and Just Eat Cycle Hire stations nearby.

75 Belford Road, Edinburgh, EH4 3DR

Related events

Related events

Lecture or talk

Audacious Women: How Wilhelmina Barns-Graham and Paula Rego Triumphed in the British Art World

Morningside Library, 178-182 Morningside Rd, Edinburgh EH10 4PU

Wed 26 Feb 2020

6:30 - 7:30pm


Lecture or talk

A Paula Rego Reading List

Modern One

Tue 17 Mar 2020

12:45 - 1:30pm



Visually Impaired Tour and Workshop: Paula Rego

Modern Two

Wed 18 Mar 2020

10:15am - 3:30pm



British Sign Language (BSL) Tour: Paula Rego

Modern Two

Sat 21 Mar 2020

11am - 12:30pm



Defiance, Reversal, Subversion: mixed media workshop


Sat 28 Mar & Sun 29 Mar 2020
10:30am - 4pm



Paula Rego Themed Tour: Puppets as Props


Sat 18 Apr 2020

2 - 2:45pm


Free with exhibition ticket.

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