Comparison: Airborne Event and The Liberation of Aunt Jemima

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The artist Fred Tomaselli arranged an assortment of objects “Airborne Event” in 2003, and the talented Bettye Saar, “The Liberation of Aunt Jemima” in 1972. I will be comparing these two pieces. This essay will consist of the explanation of each piece of artwork, and the comparison of each piece in my own opinion. The American artist Fred Tomaselli arranges pills, leaves, insects and cutouts of animals and body parts to create his pieces of art. His incorporation of items are arranged to suggest a level of perception along with a heightened visual experience. This gives me, the viewer, a sense of Energy. The perception of color that Fred uses gives a gravitating feel. If you take a look at the heart of this piece you can instantly visualize the different items Fred incorporates into the piece. The artist Bettye Saar uses belittling derogatory images of African Americans, which are now called black collectables. She tries to challenge stereotypes and racists myths. In the Saar’s assemblage “The Liberation of Aunt Jemima” she uses images of Aunt Jemima. Aunt Jemima was considered a domestic servant, which has been used to sell commercially prepared pancake mix. In the above mentioned piece, Saar uses three versions of Aunt Jemima to turnaround such images. The first image you would probably see is the largest image of Jemima’s figure, this Jemima holds a rifle and pistol as well as a broom. A Black power fist at first glance may not be seen, but as you gaze at the image you may notice that it is something you should not have missed. The next image is the one of Jemima holding up a crying child. In the background there is an image of a lighter complexioned Jemima, this image can be interpreted as a thinner lighter more appealing more marketable Jemima. Each viewer’s interpretation of these two different pieces would be based on their own inner feelings. The reason I chose these two pieces is that I see them as total opposites. Each of these artists chooses to portray an image of a human like object in two different ways. In one side you have Fred Tomaselli using different items to express openness while you have Bettye Saar using her artistic skills to express a struggle of freedom. Since these images defined how Blacks were often perceived by Whites and were often times the source of how Blacks saw themselves.

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