Born in Stockton, California, 1969
Lives and works in New York, New York
Kara Walker is an African-American artist whose work lampoons the condition of slavery and the mores of the Antebellum South.
As a student in the early 1990’s at RISD she discovered the 18th-century art of cut-paper silhouettes, which she used to produce scathing, racially charged installations, that in their political incorrectness have been linked to John Currin, Lisa Yuskavage and Vanessa Beecroft. Humor and irreverence are at the core of her work. She continued to pursue her themes in drawings, gouaches, magic-lantern projections and puppet-show videos.
”Heroes are not completely pure, and villains aren’t purely evil. I’m interested in the continuity of conflict, the creation of racist narratives, or nationalist narratives, or whatever narratives people use to construct a group identity and to keep themselves whole - such activity has a darker side to it, since it allows people to lash out at whoever’s not in the group. That’s a constant thread that flummoxes me.”
Testimony is the story of slaves turning the tables on masters. Grotesque stereotypes and a scratchy hand-made quality, including revealing the hands of the puppet-master, serve to emphasize Walker as a Goya-esque satirist.
Born in 1969 in Stockton, California, her family moved to Atlanta when she was thirteen. Walker received a BFA from Atlanta College of Art and her Masters from Rhode Island School of Design. At the age of twenty-eight Walker received the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation ‘genius’ grant, the youngest to have received the prestigious award. Kara Walker lives and works in New York where she is on the faculty of the MFA program at Columbia University.