Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Alison Saar: It's a Family Affair

If family influences one, Alison Saar (1956-) couldn't help but become an artist. Her mother, Betye Saar, is a well-known artist and her father, Richard Saar, is an artist and conservationist. In the Saar family, Alison and her two sisters were regularly exposed to visual arts and art as cultural expression.

By the time Alison was in high school, she was assisting her father in his restoration work. The experience gave her a strong sense of how art is created in other cultures. On track to become an artist, she studied African and Caribbean art in college and art school. All of these interests would inform her own art.

Initially, Alison collaborated with her mother. In time, she diverged from her mother's style of small collages to developing her own monumentally-sized sculptures.

Quite a few of her sculptures are commissioned public art. For example, here is her Harriet Tubman Memorial for New York: (click on images to enlarge)

The massive bronze monument depicts Tubman striding forward, pulling away from tree roots that represent slavery. Her skirt holds the images of many faces and object of the ones she led to freedom.

Here are a few other installations:

Title: "Coup"

Titles: "Spring" and "Summer"

Titles: "Fall" and "Winter"

Yes, Alison Saar not only carried on her family's name in art, she also built a highly awarded style and recognition in her own right.


  1. Love the Tubman sculpture! Larger than life. GH

  2. "A lovely memorial for a hero" AM

  3. Pretty cool work.. :-)

  4. love this Harriet Tubman Memorial, it is wonderful.Seeing some of the detail is extra. MAR