Sanctuary Awaits


Sanctuary Awaits is informed by the African Kongo tradition of bottle trees, which are garlanded with bottles, vessels, and other objects to protect a household. Black people in the Caribbean took up this tradition as early as the 1790s; it continues today in the southern United States, where many still believe that bottle trees ward off evil. Saar made this sculpture as one of a three-part piece exhibited in conjunction with the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

Betye Saar
Sanctuary Awaits, 1996
Wood, glass bottles, metal wire, palm fronds,
compass, sheet tin, screws, and nails
Courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, California. © Betye Saar.
photo © Museum Associates/LACMA

Audio: ©2002