Kara Walker, ‘Freedom, a Fable: A Curious Interpretation of the Witof a Negress in Troubled Times’, 1997, Artware Editions

For this work, Walker created a pop-up book that combines a narrative written in her own baroque style with her signature silhouette images. Initially conceived for the Peter Norton Family Christmas Project, this book is an excellent example of an artist successfully translating his/her visual vocabulary into a functional work while maintaining the essence of their oeuvre.

Kara Walker was born in Stockton, California and raised in Stone Mountain, Georgia. The youngest child of a college professor/painter and a banker, she received her formal art education at the Rhode Island School of Design. Walker gained early fame for her large-scale works of precisely drawn black-paper silhouette dramas caricaturing the lives of slaves and masters in the Antebellum American South.

About Kara Walker

Kara Walker is known for creating black-and-white silhouette works that invoke themes of African American racial identity. Her subjects, often scenes of slavery, conflict or violence, are rendered in a style recalling traditional African illustration and folklore of the pre-Civil War United States; the works preserve and draw critical attention to these earlier cultural epochs. Working in collage, Walker cuts out and affixes black or white paper directly to gallery walls, and utilizes light projectors to cast viewers’ own shadows into her silhouetted narratives, creating a deeply engaging experience. Despite the oftentimes sombre nature of her subjects, Walker relies on humor and viewer interaction. “I didn’t want a completely passive viewer,” she has said. “I wanted to make work where the viewer wouldn’t walk away; he would either giggle nervously, get pulled into history, into fiction, into something totally demeaning and possibly very beautiful.”

American, b. 1969, Stockton, California, based in New York, New York

Group Shows

Cape Town,
In Context: this past was waiting for me
Museum of the City of New York, 
New York, NY, USA,
Art in the Open
ART 21: Art in the Twenty-first Century, an exhibition based on the PBS series that examined power, memory, structures and play in art.

Fair History on Artsy

Sikkema Jenkins & Co. at Frieze New York 2018
Sikkema Jenkins & Co. at Art Basel in Miami Beach 2017
View Artist's CV