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Day 2, Kara Walker

March 8, 2011

Happy International Women’s Day! Today, Guildess is featuring artist Kara Walker.

Growing up, Kara Walker knew she was going to be an artist just like her father, Larry Walker.

Best known for her large black paper silhouettes, Walker explores the topics of race, history, power, identity and sexuality in her work. She received her BFA from Atlanta College of Art and her MFA from Rhode Island School of Design, where she focused on painting and printmaking.

Three years after receiving her MFA, Walker was included in the Biennial exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. She has received many awards, including the prestigious John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s “genius” grant at age 27. Walker’s work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Within her work, Walker examines the relationship between the silhouette and the narrative. Popular in the 19th and 18th century, the silhouette allows Walker to represent complex ideas of race and identity directly. She is very interested in the historical context of race issues in African American culture. By representing stereotypes of race honestly, Walker leads the viewer to question the power struggles apparent in her work.

“Most pieces have to do with exchanges of power, attempts to steal power away from others.” —Kara Walker 1



1 Kara Walker, from Sollins, Susan, Exec Producer. Art21: Art in the 21st Century. DVD, PBS Home Video Dist, 2003.

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