Artist Kara Walker uses an old-fashioned art form, the black paper silhouette, in controversial ways to explore issues of power, politics and racism.
"Her art is repulsive and at the same time visually seductive. And this contradiction is why Walker’s work speaks so effectively on the politics of power. Artists creating political work often lecture the audience with opinions about right and wrong, ethical and unethical. This type of art is mere public relations for an obvious political point of view. We, the viewers, can only agree or disagree, filing the work in its appropriate place in our moral universe. At her best, Walker does not provide easy answers to hard questions. She constructs a complicated world where victim and persecutor flip flop and are never pinned down to one role. This shifting point of view leaves us to decipher our own sense of identity from the artist’s speculations about race, class, history, and corruption of power. Kara Walker unleashes an unsettling parade of images that are most often black and white, yet in the end, the moral problems she exposes trap us among unresolved and troubling nuances of grey."
From a commentary by art critic Anne Bothwell
Explore the artists' work and books about her in our catalog.