1969 (Stockton, California)
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Often Known For
silhouette figures, racial themed work
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Black American Artists
|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Known for black paper cutout silhouettes, Kara Walker also does wall
texts, and many of her images depict sex, bestiality, and sadism in
what is intended as anti-racist parody. She is part of a generation of
controversial African-American artists who deals with stereotypical
black images in a confrontational way.|
One of her prints tilted A Means to an End: A Shadow Drama in Five Acts, was pulled from a
show in 1999 at the Detroit Institute of Arts because it was an
antebellum plantation scene that offended some of the African-American
In 2002, she was selected to represent the United States at the Sao Paulo Biennial, running from March 23 to June 2nd.
was born in Stockton, California where her father was an art teacher at
the University of the Pacific. When she was 13, she moved with
her family to Atlanta, Georgia, where her father became Chair of the
Art Department at Georgia State University. She found the racial
boundaries of her new environment very stiffling compared to the open,
multi-cultural life she had led before. She earned her B.F.A.
degree at the Atlanta College of Art where she studied painting and
printmaking. She took a year off and then earned an MA at the Rhode
Island School of Design, and during that interim time gave much thought
to "black womaness."
Walker's cutouts resulted from a Rhode
Island School of Design show she entered after she graduated where she
was given a 50 foot wall for her artwork. From rolls of black and
white paper on which she drew and cut apart, she created The Emancipation Approximation, a harsh dialogue installation that brought viewers into her challenging social messages.
Kara Walker was the winner of the fourth annual Lucelia Artist Award
from the Smithsonian American Art Museum (2004). An art educator,
she joined the faculty of the M.F.A. department at Columbia University.
ARTnews, April 2002
The Smithsonian American Art Museum
|These Notes from AskART represent the beginning of a possible future biography for this artist. Please click here if you wish to help in its development:|
|Kara Walker was awarded the 2005 Larry Aldrich Award which honors an
American artist who has had a significant impact on contemporary visual
culture in the preceeding three years.|
Antiques and the Arts Weekly, December 23, 2005
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