|Alison Saar, Hankerin' Heart|
|Alison Saar, Black Lightening|
|Alison Saar, Weight|
Young, Black women are often similarly limited in their life choices. In Weight, Saar balances the sculpted figure of a young, nude, Black woman sitting on a swing against shackles, boxing gloves, pots and pans, a scythe, and other objects suggesting domestic labor or work in the fields. In describing her process of working on this piece, Saar mentioned that she has been criticized for insisting on making images about the injustices suffered by African-Americans, since she looks as though she is a White woman of privilege. What these critics seem to ignore is that Saar, herself, is a person of mixed race. And even if she were not herself of African heritage, Saar feels keenly that injustice to one is injustice to all.
|Alison Saar, Hankerin' Heart (detail)|
Justice, however, is not Saar’s only issue. The awkward, leggy cast bronze sculptures called, collectively, Hankerin’ Heart are three meditations on the universal desire to feel loved. Mosey, Hincty, and Gimpty (I never quite figured out which is which) are variations on the theme of having one’s heart exposed, naked, vulnerable. Each one is about the size of a human being, if that human being were reduced to nothing but nerves, blood vessels, and longing. At certain angles, the torn, scarred, sewn-together hearts resemble faces, scrunched down between hunched shoulders, yet peering out hopefully. Haven’t we all felt like that sometimes?