Kenyon College

Banshee Pearls


Artist: Kiki Smith
Title of Work: Banshee Pearls
Year: 1991
Sheet Dimensions: 22 3/4 x 30 5/8″
 8 lithographs with aluminum-leaf additions on twelve sheets of handmade Japanese paper
Photo Line: Limited Art Editions
Collection Credit: Courtesy of Limited Art Editions

 Banshee Pearls is a highly personal work, depicting repeated portraits of Smith’s own face, layered with anatomical images and tear-like drips.  The flat, grotesque images of Smith’s face recall death masks, a common reference for her sculptures.  Prior to working at Universal Limited Art Editions, where she produced this piece, Smith had not used her own body in her prints.  The contorted and haunting faces reference a banshee, an Irish spirit that was said to come prior to death.  Banshee was a nickname given to Smith by her father, Tony Smith.

–Sophia Yablon ’12, Gund Gallery Associate