Kara Walker, ‘Untitled with Soldier’, 2013, Sikkema Jenkins & Co.

One of the best known contemporary artists, Walker creates black-and-white silhouettes that recall traditional African illustration and pre-Civil War folklore of the United States. Her subjects are often scenes of slavery, conflict, and violence.

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

Exhibition Highlights On Artsy

Kara Walker : Norma, Victoria Miro, London
Speaking Back, Goodman Gallery, Cape Town
Afterword, Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York