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The Root of the Matter:  A Conversation with Alison Saar

November 15, 2022 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Award-winning artist Alison Saar joins Jasmine Nichole Cobb, Co-Director of the From Slavery to Freedom FHI lab at Duke University, for a conversation at 21c Museum Hotel Durham. Saar’s body of work, which includes sculpture, metalwork and print, explores the Black female form, as related to histories of race, labor and spirituality. Reoccurring themes of beauty, colorism and Black hair appear throughout Saar’s pieces, and will guide this lively discussion.

Alison Saar was born and raised in Laurel Canyon, California. Saar received her B.A. in studio art and art history in 1978 from Scripps College, Claremont, California. She went on to earn her MFA from Otis-Parsons Institute (now Otis College of Art and Design). She has received three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (1984, 1985 and 1988), and was awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 1989, the Flintridge Foundation Award for Visual Artists in 2000, the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award in 1998 and the Joan Mitchell Artist in Residence in 2013. In 2012, the United States Artists Program named Saar one of 50 USA fellows. Select public works include Monument to the Great Northern Migration (Chicago, Illinois), Swing Low: Harriet Tubman Memorial (Harlem, New York) and Embodied (Los Angeles, California). Alison Saar’s work has been acquired by public and private collections worldwide, including the permanent collection of 21c Museum Hotels.

Jasmine Nichole Cobb is Professor of African & African American Studies and of Art, Art History and Visual Studies at Duke University, as well as a co-director of the “From Slavery to Freedom” (FS2F) Franklin Humanities Lab. A scholar of black cultural production and visual representation, Cobb is the author of two monographs, Picture Freedom:  Remaking Black Visuality in the Early Nineteenth Century (NYUP 2015) and New Growth:  The Art and Texture of Black Hair (Duke UP 2022). Her third monograph in progress, The Pictorial Life of Harriet Tubman, offers a visual history of the abolitionist, from the middle nineteenth century through the present, including the persistence of the abolitionist’s image in contemporary art and popular culture.


21c Museum Hotel Durham

6pm, Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Gallery 5

Free and open to the public. Seating is limited please make a reservation on Eventbrite.



November 15, 2022
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Category:


21c Museum Hotel Durham
111 North Corcoran Street
Durham, 27701 United States
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