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Tobacco Demon

Modern and Contemporary Art

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Tobacco Demon

Artwork Details


Alison Saar
American, born 1956




Ceiling tin, found objects, and shellac on wood

Accession #

1993.17 a-b


78 1/4 x 25 1/4 x 14 inches


On View - Stent Family Wing, Skyway, Gallery 403


As an apprentice in her father’s restoration studio, Alison Saar gained first hand knowledge of ancient Chinese, African, Egyptian, and pre Columbian objects. Her art reflects an assimilation of these varied sources. Tobacco Demon, otherwise known as an “agridemon,” symbolizes the depletion of the soil by plantation farming of cotton and tobacco as well as the painful history of slavery, which made these plantations possible. Tobacco Demon is based on the character of Baron Samedi, the ruler of zombies in Haitian Voudoun folklore. Saar dresses him in a tobacco leaf suit, symbolically linking the legacy of slavery with modern-day drug lords.


Purchase through funds provided by AT&T New Art/ New Visions and 20th-Century Art Acquisition Fund

Image Copyright

© Alison Saar