standing woman wearing a sheer sleeveless dress, with her hair in six braids being lifted by blooming cotton plants; woman holds a clothes iron with red at the tip in her PL hand; woman's eyes are white; tan background with pattern of blooming cotton plants; received in dark finish wood frame

White Guise, 2019

Alison Saar’s woodcut and relief print, White Guise, is a visual allegory of strength, resolve, and self-determination. Its subject, a young Black woman with hair bound into an elaborate cotton-boll crown, holds a blood-stained flatiron in her hand, a tool of servitude that has been transformed into a symbol of her defiance. The print’s title alludes to the growing of cotton, the cash crop that flourished in the American South and helped drive the enslavement of Africans and African Americans between 1619 and 1865, when Confederate leaders surrendered to the Union Army to end the Civil War and the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, outlawing slavery. In the war’s aftermath, many formerly enslaved people became tenant farmers, sharecroppers, or domestics, landless workers who were often exploited and abused by white landowners. Though allegorical, Saar’s female figure is an agitator, a change agent whose persona of defiance and determination reveals a sub-textual narrative of social and cultural enlightenment. Infused with a spiritual and emotional intensity, she stands as a powerful symbol of liberation and self-determination.

Details
Title
White Guise
Artist Life
born 1956
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2020.65
Provenance
P.R.I.N.T. Press, University of North Texas, Denton (publisher); (LA Louver Gallery, Venice, Calif.); sold to MIA, 2020.
Curator Approved

This record is from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator, so may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

Does something look wrong with this image? Let us know

standing woman wearing a sheer sleeveless dress, with her hair in six braids being lifted by blooming cotton plants; woman holds a clothes iron with red at the tip in her PL hand; woman's eyes are white; tan background with pattern of blooming cotton plants; received in dark finish wood frame
Because of © restrictions, we can only show you a small image of this artwork. (You'll have to come see it in person.)