United States, born 1926
To the Manor Born, 2011
Mixed media assemblage
10 ½ x 20 ½ x 2 ¼ in.
Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Museum purchase with funds from the Jefferson-Pilot Endowment, the Robert C. Ketner Family Acquisition Endowment, the Carol and Seymour Levin Acquisition Endowment, the Lynn Richardson Prickett Acquisition Endowment, and the Judy Proctor Acquisition Endowment, 2016.18
Transforming objects culled from flea markets, garage sales, and family collections, Betye Saar weds mysticism, craft, and personal history to create works that explore experiences of being an African American female. This artwork includes many of the artist’s iconic elements—a mammy figurine, a bird, and female domestic items such as a fan. Throughout her work, Saar aims to honor the history and emotions that can be attached to such common artifacts—arranging them in ways that reveal their powerful associations. In this assemblage, she used the color red to unify the various objects. The artist describes the hue as that of “anger, danger, violence, heat, passion, blood, and fire.”
© Betye Saar, photo courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles