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The Racial Matrix 

An epic animated montage, this stop motion animation examines “the matrix” in the United States that perpetuated racial constructs through Naturalization, Segregation, Racial Lines, and Miscegenation. With scenes ranging from parts of MLK Jr’s last speech “I’ve been to the mountaintop” to the inequality represented in the contrasting landscape of St. Louis city, to an animated collage representing discriminatory loans, segregated land ownership, unequal jobs, education, and opportunity, this animation illustrates a series of ideas left up to the viewer’s synthesis, but ultimately pointing towards the constructs that undermine civil rights. The visuals are accompanied by a somber soundtrack recorded by Vernacular String Trio.

White By Law 

Referencing White by Law, by Ian Haney Lopez, as a guide point, this didactic animation illustrates the four methods the legal system used to determine race, followed by an overview of significant cases. The Individuals involved in these cases are unknown heroes because they argued for equal rights. The effects of these ruling are perpetuated in modern day society.  My desire as an artist was to make visible this significant history. Much of this animation is literally written into being through drawing and writing that appear, as animated, onto book and paper forms. Other animation techniques used in this include: frame by frame metamorphosis, silhouettes puppets, painted cells, and cut paper cutouts.



Video animation



Video animation


Sarah Paulsen: Projects


Raised in Kirkwood, Missouri, Sarah Paulsen is an artist, filmmaker and community organizer whose artwork has been exhibited widely in local and national exhibitions, and whose prizewinning films have been featured in the St. Louis International Film Festival, the True/False Film Festival, the Black Maria Film Festival, the Motivate Film Festival and the Chicago International Children's Film Festival, among many others. She was a 2018 Great Rivers Biennial Winner culminating in an exhibit at the Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis. A 2010 C.A.T. Insitute fellow and 2015 Regional Arts Commission Artist Fellow, she has garnered numerous awards for her work and also completed several residencies – including the Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris.

A dedicated advocate for social change, a key aspect of Paulsen’s practice has always involved the orchestration of large-scale community projects, such as participatory public murals, thematic round-table discussions and the now-annual People’s Joy Parade on Cherokee Street.

Paulsen holds a B.F.A. in visual art from the University of Missouri, Columbia and an M.F.A. from the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Art at Washington University. She lives and works in St. Louis, where she teaches art and anima#on at the Contemporary Art Museum, Marian Middle School and UMSL.

Sarah Paulsen: TeamMember
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