Reference Entry

Walker, Kara

in Benezit Dictionary of Artists

ISBN: 9780199773787
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199899913 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/benz/9780199773787.article.B00203284
Walker, Kara

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  • Painting
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American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 26 November 1969, in Stockton (California).

Installation artist, lithographer, screen printer, engraver, collage artist, watercolourist.

Kara Walker is based in Providence (Rhode Island). She graduated from the Atlanta College of Art and earned a master's degree from the Rhode Island School of Design. She teaches at Columbia University, New York. This African American artist addresses racial and sexual tensions in graphic terms. The trademark silhouettes of her installations, cut out in black paper, were a popular art form as the slave trade grew in the 18th and 19th centuries; today, they are a stark illustration of the shadow cast on history by slavery and the exploitative relationships it spawned. Her images impose on the eye their symbolic content as they tell their story with the support of well-known plantation types. Walker's aggressive transformation of the folktale and movie-derived imagery of American slavery into humorous, psychologically provocative but exquisitely quaint pieces ironically parallels a history of sexuality, violence and social power struggles. She keeps up the pretence in some of her titles framed in period language - for instance, the watercolour series ...

Reference Entry.  637 words. 

Subjects: Painting ; Installation Art, Mixed-Media, Assemblage, and Collage ; Prints and Printmaking ; Contemporary Art ; 20th-Century Art ; Art of the United States

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