Cream is a “family portrait” featuring a child’s dress surrounded by photographs of Saar’s relatives. The young girl in the photo at bottom is Saar’s mother and the adults flanking the dress sleeves are Saar’s maternal grandparents. The generational story continues with Saar’s own handprint at bottom center and those of her youngest granddaughter, made when she was a year old. The butterflies that float among them suggest that while appearance is mutable, the essence of a creature remains the same.

Betye Saar
Cream, 2001
Collage of dress, buttons, photos, printed papers, lock of hair, metal ornament, handprints, and paint on paper
Courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, California. © Betye Saar.
Photo courtesy Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale, AZ, by Tim Lanterman.