You are a Remarkable Woman (Kara Walker)
Materials Cast glass with graphite and resin-painted aluminum
Kara Walker was born in California in 1969. Her father, Larry Walker, is a painter and professor of art. When she was a young adolescent the family moved to Stone Mountain, Georgia where her father took a teaching position nearby. Up until that time race was not a big issue in her life having lived in a progressive, integrated community in California. In Stone Mountain, they still held KKK rallies and in high school she was called the “n” word and that she looked like a monkey.
Following in her father’s footsteps, she studied art at the Atlanta College of Art and went on to graduate school at the Rhode Island School of Design. In her early work she was afraid to use race as a subject matter because she was concerned it would be perceived as “obvious”. As her self-confidence grew, she found her voice, and in 1994 she produced “Gone, An Historical Romance of a Civil War as it Occurred Between the Dusky Thighs of a Young Negress and her Heart”. This cut black paper silhouette mural told a tale of forced sex and slavery in the civil war south. She has gone on to address issues of race and gender equality using these silhouetted stereotyped historical references to confront persistent modern-day concerns. The “So Called Queen” reference relates to the fact that even though she is well known in the art world, to those that don’t know her she is an anonymous black woman subject to the same prejudices that pervade in our society.
Among her many honors, Kara Walker was the second youngest recipient, at the age of 27, of the MacArthur Foundation “genius” Grant.