Meet Artist Alison Saar

Alison Saar’s Catfish Dreamin’ features the universally recognized figure of the catfish in a mobile sculpture that encourages the public to share stories, dreams, and memories around the theme of water. The project was first realized in 1993 in Baltimore, inspired by the local tradition of African American produce vendors delivering nourishment to neighborhoods across the city. In 2021, the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena realized a new version of this project centered on water and waterways in the San Gabriel Valley, a life-sustaining and vanishing resource throughout the region. Saar continues the journey of the catfish, a symbol of resilience, fortune, luck, and secrets, in Borrego Springs. Through a series of free, interactive public workshops, facilitated by teaching artists from the Armory and students from Borrego Springs High School, Catfish Dreamin’ asks us to share stories with each other as we collectively imagine a future for ourselves. 

Visit the Catfish Dreamin’ website for more information and to access a virtual presentation of the project featuring works by Neelanjana Banerjee, Carolina Caycedo, Carmina Escobar with Wesam Nassar, Kate Lain, and Saar. 

Special thanks to the Armory Center for the Arts for their partnership in realizing this project.

Alison Saar’s sculpture, prints, and paintings address issues of race, gender, and spirit. She studied art and art history at Scripps College and received an MFA from the Otis Art Institute. Her numerous awards include a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, National Endowment Fellowships, and the United States Artists Fellowship.

Saar has exhibited extensively at institutions around the world including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Art Omi, the DakArt Biennial in Senegal, Whitney Museum of American Art. Her art is represented in the collections of Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among many others.

In 2021, Armory Center for the Arts and the Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College jointly presented Alison Saar: Of Aether and Earthe, an exhibition of the artist’s sculptures and installations at both locations, and Mirror, Mirror: The Prints of Alison Saar, traveled extensively throughout the US. In early 2022, Galerie Lelong in Paris mounted a solo show of her prints. Saar currently resides in Los Angeles and is represented by L A Louver Gallery.