This work depicts a cast bronze female figure seated on a bale of cotton. Branches of cotton extend upward from her hair, reaching for the sky. “Grow’d” is the final chapter of a series of works that centered around the character of Topsy from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. In the book, Topsy is described as a mischievous slave girl with a naïve comprehension of the world. When her new owners inquire about her parents and her concept of God, Topsy muses: “I spect I grow’d. Don’t think nobody ever made me.” In this work, I have revisioned Topsy as a grown woman, fully aware of who she is and in control of her destiny. She sits erect, as if on a throne, sickle in hand like the sceptre of a powerful priestess.
Alison Saar was born in Los Angeles, California. She studied art and art history at Scripps College and received an MFA from the Otis Art Institute. She received the United States Artist Fellowship in 2012 and has also been awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and two National Endowment Fellowships. Alison has exhibited at many galleries and museums, including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Her art is represented in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Baltimore Art Museum, the Modern Museum of Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.