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From Morocco to Malaysia: new publication traces the US artist Betye Saar’s journeys of discovery

By Ben Luke

Richly produced book documents how the nonagenarian artist’s work has been informed by her decades of travel. 

“My secret heart seeks the dusty, musty, forgotten corners./It constantly haunts, hunts, collects, gathers objects, images, feelings.” In her 1993 poem My Secret Heart, Betye Saar—whose sculptures, using diverse cultural imagery to reflect on injustice and African American life, form one of the most influential bodies of work in recent American art—tells us about the processes of witnessing, remembering and collecting at the heart of her work. Often, she draws on the experience of travel.