A national, international artist A painter, silhouettist, print-maker, installation artist, filmmaker, and professor
By: Anjali Sen
Who is Kara Walker?
Kara Elizabeth Walker was born on November 26, 1969 (52 years old currently), in Stockton, California. She is an American artist and her work can be represented by cultural affiliations. She works from a studio in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn and she needed to work to support her art. Walker went to the Accent Reduction Training Association- Atlanta and Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).
Kara Walker's Messages, (Art) Materials, and Mentors
The tools, techniques, and materials Kara walker uses are intricate cut-paper silhouettes. That's the material she is known for and uses most in all her artwork. She uses this with collage, painting, drawing, in film or video, performance, light projection, animation, and shadow puppetry.
Mrs. Walker's mentors were Roberta Smith and Jerry Saltz and they support her critics' argument which is that her work appeases the White establishment. It is said that Walker made it very clear that her intent or intentions as an artist was not to create pleasing images that people might/could look at for hours. She said she didn't create art to raise questions that would have easy answers. She also explained her use of the silhouette by stating that “the silhouette says a lot with very little information, but that's also what the stereotype does.” (Britanica)
Kara did have political agendas behind her art pertaining to race. She was known for exploring race, gender, sexuality, violence, and identity in her artwork. Walker's images are really about racism in the present, which you can see even to today. It is also about the extensive or many economic as well as social inequalities that we continue to see in our divided America. Viewers of her art say it's like puzzles or riddles because they are all complex. There are multiple layers to it in order to reveal their meaning slowly and over time.
Kara Walker's Most Significant Work
Five of the Most Groundbreaking Artworks by Kara Walker:
1. Gone: An Historical Romance of a Civil War as It Occurred B’tween the Dusky Thighs of One Young Negress and Her Heart (1994)
2. Darkytown Rebellion (2001)
3. A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby (2014)
4. Fons Americanus (2019)
5. Works from “A Black Hole Is Everything a Star Longs to Be” (2021)
Kara Walker was influenced by Andy Warhol, whose art Walker admired as a child. Other influencers were Adrian Piper, Robert Colescott, and Lorna Simpson. Walker continues to engage with feminism and ideals of beauty. Early in her career, Walker was inspired by kitschy flea market wares. "Walker made powerful and worldly art - she said, "I really love to make sweeping historical gestures that are like little illustrations of novels." (Britannica). She is a New York-based contemporary African American artist and works with a variety of mediums such as "film, prints, installations, paintings, drawings, and silhouettes." Her subject matter "explores complicated topics surrounding race, sexuality, gender, and violence within her works to comment on power, race, and gender relations" (Blythewood, 2017). Her work changes over the duration of her career during the 21st century. Kara Walker brought silhouettes back to life with a powerful result in her artwork on topics such as inequality in gender and race.