Betye Saar United States, b. 1926

I am intrigued with combining the remnant of memories, fragments of relics and ordinary objects, with the components of technology. It's a way of delving into the past and reaching into the future simultaneously.

-Betye Saar


Betye Saar’s edition A Handful of Stars consists of a solid bronze sculpture created from a mold of her hand, presented on a walnut base. This edition was conceived to honor her 90th birthday and the retrospective exhibition, Betye Saar: Still Tickin’, organized at Museum Het Domein Sittard in the Netherlands, in partnership with Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.  

A Handful of Stars is cast from Saar’s left hand. The embellishments on this edition were selected from Saar’s collection of found objects she keeps meticulously organized in her Laurel Canyon studio. Nine stars are spread across the palm and fingers like a constellation of her life. The sun at the center of her hand suggests creativity and brings to mind her ninety solar returns (Saar is a Leo, which is ruled by the sun in astrology.) An all-seeing eye rests at the pulse line as if guiding every action the hand takes. Saar chose the cerulean blue patina to reference the heavens. The rings, however, are personal items Saar wears daily. The traditional Claddagh ring acknowledges her Irish grandmother while also signifying love, loyalty, and friendship. Two South African gold rings honor her African American grandmother. (Saar’s fascination with found objects began with visits to this grandmother in Watts, where she witnessed Watts Towers rising in the neighborhood.) The bracelet is a favorite of Saar’s. These totems and their placement are the sum of the depth and complexity of a lifetime.

The cast bronze captures the delicacy of her hand with exquisite detail, signifying human vulnerability and resilience. This edition is a fitting celebration of her art and life, bestowing the creative force and power of her work while tenderly receiving the legacy of her artistry.