Sarah Beth Woods


Esther and Anonymous (2x 64″ x 7″ x 30″), hair weave, shoe laces, ribbon, aluminum, $1000

Sarah Beth Woods is a Chicago-based artist who uses the languages of craft, sculpture, and public engagement to explore femininity through material culture, artifice and adornment.

On a daily basis I pass through two very separate landscapes, both of these landscapes are culturally homogenous and racially segregated. Esther and anonymous was a way to unify two very different experiences that happened  during the same time period. My grandmother, who I remember fondly as always dying her hair jet black passed away. As I was driving to work on the near South West side of Chicago I encountered the aftermath of a funeral procession. Mourners carried floral sprays and were adorned with airbrushed jackets dedicated to the deceased, a young black woman. The visual was so striking and disheartening that I searched relentlessly online and through newspaper archives to find out the woman’s name and what had happened to her. My search revealed nothing. This work is the material manifestation of the inability to speak to the violence behind and the anonymity of black death.