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Baya had her first exhibition in 1947, when she was sixteen, at the Galerie Maeght in Paris. Baya’s paintings focus almost entirely on moments of encounter. In her gouaches dominated by vibrant colors, she often paints silhouettes of women and their clothes. Women, birds, and vegetation are recurrent motifs throughout her oeuvre. Subjects in her paintings are characterized by patterning and rendered in bright primary colors. When asked why she chose to paint happy scenes, Baya explained that this was due to the unhappiness in her life. Painting was a form of therapy for her and this unhappiness haunts her entire oeuvre.