OTHER BLOOMERS & SHAKERS: Betye Saar and the Art of the Icon

72_aunt_jemima Betye SaarThe Liberation of Aunt Jemima by Betye Saar

[NOTE] I love to learn about mixed-race Bloomers who paved the way before me. Betye Saar inspires me! –Michele

Read more about Betye Saar below. Thanks to Bloom for the story!



by Dena Santoro

I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way—things I had no words for.
Georgia O’Keefe

Betye Saar was born in 1926 (as Betye Irene Brown) of mixed ancestry (African American, Irish and Native American). She grew up in Los Angeles. In 1949, she earned a graphic design degree from UCLA, beginning her career as a designer and later working as a printmaker. After viewing an exhibition of the New York artist Joseph Cornell’s boxed assemblages in 1968, she began creating assemblage art herself. By her own account, Saar was in her 40s when she began creating her best known work in earnest.

Betye Saar’s assemblage art has roots in her childhood, during which she and her widowed mother lived with a great aunt who collected ceramic figurines that were created in the late 19th and…

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