Tuesday, October 16, 2012


"I wanted to make work where the viewer wouldn't walk away; he would either giggle nervously, get pulled into history, fiction, into something totally demeaning and possibly very beautiful." --Kara Walker

Kara Walker (1969-) is a New York based artist, well known for her paper-cut silhouette works, which broach issues of race, identity, politics, and violence.

Walker's work first came to the public's attention when she was in her mid-20s, and she became the youngest artist to receive a MacArthur "genius" grant at age 27.

Specifically in relation to the plight of African American women in the antebellum South, Walker's room-size tableaux depict scenes from history, literature, and lore, adding a cinematic quality to the arrangement of life-size figures.

Walker works in many mediums, including gouache, animation and even shadow puppets.  In my opinion, her paper cut works are the most boldly thematic, zeroing in on the issues she raises through the stark contrast of black and white.

Upon immediate confrontation, the beautiful craftsmanship of the cut paper is striking.  The social, political, sexual, and violent themes come to light upon closer inspection.

Walker currently lives in New York City, where she is Professor of Visual Art at Columbia University's MFA program.

I'm wearing a Jill Stuart dress, Candela shoes, and a vintage leather clutch.

Photos by @kay_elle_pea.  Walker images from,,, and


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