Artist
Betye Saar
African American artist

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Betye Saar
African American artist
5
Average: 5 (3 votes)

Date of Birth

July 30, 1926

Place of Birth

Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

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Betye Saar is 90 years old and is still way more productive and energized than the average 25 year old.

Her latest exhibition is called “Still Tickin'” which is an abomination of an understatement.

Betye Saar was born Los Angeles in 1926. As a girl she watched the Watts Towers being built with all of its eclectic bottles, seashells, tiles and pottery, and as a result became the badass assemblage artist that she is today. She took assemblage art a step further than Simon Rodia (the artist of the Watts Towers) and used it to assess the social and political climate of the time...like a genius! She stated that, “I am intrigued with combining the remnant of memories, fragments relics and ordinary objects, with the components of technology. It’s a way of delving into the past and reaching into the future simultaneously.” Another fuel was her anger at the racism and segregation in America. She put a label on the oppression that was still alive and well in America via her art stating, “I wanted people to know that black people wouldn’t be enslaved by that.”

In her lifelong battle, she drafted all the stereotypical Black characters and ideas: Uncle Tom, Aunt Jemima, the whole “African tribal mysticism” colonial thing, among many others. She used them strategically to devalue their strength in society. The idea was to point at the stereotypes and say, “Hey! This is some racist bullsh*t and you should probably stop perpetuating it.” Amen, Betye.

After all of the fighting and creating that Betye Saar did throughout her life, what is it that she says now, you ask? She says “I could use a nap,” a natural reaction for any 90 year old, but she finished the sentence saying, “...but there is too much to do.” She is life goals. 

 

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Betye Saar

Betye Irene Saar (born July 30, 1926 in Los Angeles, California) is an African-American artist known for her work in the medium of assemblage. Saar has been called "a legend" in the world of contemporary art. She is a visual storyteller and an accomplished printmaker. Saar was a part of the Black Arts Movement in the 1970s, which engaged myths and stereotypes about race and femininity. Her work is considered highly political, as she challenged negative ideas about African-Americans throughout her career; Betye Saar is best known for her art work that critiques American racism toward blacks. She is represented by Los Angeles based gallery Roberts Projects.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Betye Saar.