Batya Tamar

Batya Tamar


Born in New York City, Barbara has been traveling to Haiti to visit family since age 1 and attended elementary school there during the period of the Duvalier dictatorship.

Much of her early artwork represented an unraveling of that experience. In graduate school, she began research into the African, colonial, and indigenous histories of Haitian art and culture. Since then, the themes explored in her work expanded to research and reflect upon her Eastern European Jewish heritage.

This resulted in depictions of additional cross-sections of identity and history. While living in Colorado, she realized that the history of Crypto-Jews had much in common with that of enslaved Africans in the Americas both found ways to maintain their traditions despite virulent oppression.

After “9/11,” she became active in several programs to promote cross-cultural relationships and subsequently traveled to Spain and Morocco with an Atlanta-based interfaith group of Christians, Muslims, and Jews to study the medieval “Golden Age” of relative peace between the three religions preceding the Spanish Inquisition. Collaging bits and pieces of images from a variety of sources to create a whole new image actualizes her thought process, linked to the Caribbean tradition of “magical realism,” and also appeals to her for a “visual reading” of her work that is accessible to a broad audience.

Barbara earned her M.F.A. from Indiana State University in Drawing and Mixed media.

Her art has been exhibited nationally and internationally in many solos, invitational, and juried group exhibitions, including collateral exhibitions of Cuba’s 10th Havana Bienale, Wilmer Jennings Gallery at Kenkeleba in New York City, and the National Museum of Art in Accras, Ghana. Barbara’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Art in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Eastern Illinois University, Indiana State University, and private collections. Her research has been published in the Journal of Haitian Studies and Anales del Caribe (Casa de las America, Havana, Cuba). She is an experienced art educator who has taught all levels of studio art from early childhood through college and has resided in Atlanta, Georgia since 2002.

© Barbara Nesin 2022