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Indepth Arts News:

"Lezley Saar: Africans, Rap Thugs-n-Dimes"
2000-09-09 until 2000-11-05
Contemporary Arts Center
Cincinnati, OH, USA

Pairing African tribal faces with famed figures from American pop culture, Los Angeles artist Lezley Saar presents her tribute to cultural diversity with a hint of irony. Through her work, Saar pays homage to the human experience - particularly to those on the fringes of society, physically or emotionally. Her fairy tale, fantasy world exposes the dignities of those sometimes accused of being uncultivated - showing their peculiarities as traits to be admired.

Saar's CAC exhibition includes up to 15 of her most recent works - a series of six portraits of individuals from African tribes as well as portraits of popular rap artists painted onto a collage of pop music albums from the 1950s and '60s.

Presented in decorative gilded frames and painted on canvases of African fabrics, members of the Kanuri, Zulu and Fulani tribes, as well as others, are depicted in much the same way as formal European portraits of the 18th and 19th century.

In contrast to the formal portraits, Saar pays her respects to contemporary rap musicians - Cleveland quartet Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Juvenile, Gansta Boo, the Ghetto Twiinz, Yuk Mouth and Snoop Dogg - by painting their likenesses on grids of album covers. Rap is a vibrant cultural phenomenon, explains Saar, I embrace the energy, anger and ridiculousness of the music.

IMAGE:
Lezley Saar
Bone Thugs-n-Harmony
acrylic painting on fabric,
shelf, skull, bones
72 x 72 x 8 inches


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