Essay The Liberation of Aunt Jemima Analysis

819 Words4 Pages
Dwayne D. Moore Jr.
Women In Visual Culture
Angela Reinoehl

Visual/Formal Analysis
The Liberation of Aunt Jemima by Betye Saar

When we look at this piece, we tend to see the differences in ways a subject can be organized and displayed. This assemblage by Betye Saar shows us how using different pieces of medium can bring about the wholeness of the point of view in which the artist is trying to portray. So in part, this piece speaks about stereotyping and how it is seen through the eyes of an artist.

At 1st glance this piece does look like a photograph, even a painting, but this series is a work of mixed-media layered one on top of the other in a box. Yet this assemblage of random found objects, with the artists
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By doing this, Saar dramatically changes the viewer's perspective of the piece, and utterly alters the image. This could mean several things, she could be depicting the fact that this woman is expressing that she will go to war for her race, and does not care about what questions arise about her and her beliefs.

Saar, now draws us to the outermost part of the assemblage. Here we see a completely different depiction of Aunt Jemima. This Jemima stands holding a white child on one of her hips, with a smile that can kill you on her face-- or a don't mess with me smile. She is also depicted standing behind a white picket fence with a white sheet draped over it. This could be seen as something that can be defined as complex, based on how the viewer depicts it. Going forward, the sheet is almost obsolete, due to a brown fist raised in the black power salute. This gives us a sense that Aunt Jemima is transformed from a negative stereotype, to an independent, assertive, strong individual human being. Saar has given us the sense that she has seized control of this piece to define identity. She is also holstering this pistol, which also shows the viewer that she will fight for what she believes in. As a “Mammy” it's seen by the white population that she has nothing worth fighting for, but as we can see, the white child she is bearing helps ease the role of Motherhood and Nurturer. She takes it a step further by giving everyone ample time

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