Throughout her life, Saar has made drawings and collages in response to the places she visits. Unlike the other sketchbooks on display, these works were created without a specific assemblage, collage, or sculptural tableau in mind. Instead, they resemble private souvenirs, combining material and visual traces of her travels with elements
of her established artistic vocabulary. For example, Saar’s 1975 Mexico sketchbook includes images of eyes, hearts, hands, and celestial bodies—leitmotifs that appear throughout her work. Among the mementos pasted into her 1994 sketchbook from Brazil is an image of a lion; as a Leo, Saar frequently includes lions in her art.
All travel sketchbooks are from the collection of Betye Saar, courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles