back bounded-next cafe calendar-large calendar cart close coat-check collapse donate download elevators expand explore filter grid-view hamburger heart hours join link list-view location mail more next nursing-room phone print programs ramp restrooms right-arrow search share shop thumbs-down thumbs-up tickets up toilet heart-filled zoom Skip to Content

Feral Son

Modern and Contemporary Art

Search and Share Tools

Feral Son

Artwork Details


Alison Saar
American, born 1956


ca. 1980


Mixed media

Accession #



27 x 37 x 4 inches


On View - Anne Cox Chambers Wing, Skyway, Gallery 424


Alison Saar’s work tells stories about the African American experience through references to American history, literature and mythology. While this was produced around the time Saar completed her graduate degree, it anticipates directions that her mature work takes in its use of unconventional materials and narrative elements. Its title suggests that the figure is male, while the broken chains suggests his liberation from slavery or subjugation. Saar may have chosen the title as a play on Richard Wright’s novel Native Son whose protagonist Bigger Thomas, motivated by anger, fear and feral impulses, broke free from the racism that imprisoned him figuratively, only to be imprisoned literally and ultimately sentenced to death.


Gift of Barbara Bowen Moore and H. Clay Moore, Jr.