Monday, June 05, 2006

Sunday Inspiration: Kara Walker

Yesterday, under the blistering gaze of the afternoon sun my shadow became long and agitated. It soon left as I sat and lazed unable to lift myself from beneath the burden of the struggle of labour. The shadow(s) play but underneath the silhouette it can convey a story of complex starkness. Unlike Peter, we get a chance to enter into the history of the South through magnifying lens of Kara Walker. Paper beats rocks but she doesn't cover the hardships of the past up with a white sheet but perforates it to reveal the negative spaces around it. Life-sized images of escaped silhouettes confront us with violence, brutality and murder in a playful punctuated tableaux. Just like in first year animation class where you have to convey action in an 'easy to read' silhouette, Kara captures the caricatured forms and unbridled actions of the cracked 'Song of the South'. We have already backlit the art and craft of Lotte Reininger and Michel Ocelot's shadow puppet animation. But unlike the elegant cameo vision of these two artists Kara uses the cut-out technique to free the idealizations and stereotypes and rewrite the visual language of this black and white imagery.
Kara has exhibited extensively and is included in the Art Now 2 book and the pbs Art:21. So play in the shadows and run the Races of the past as this bunny
has already pulled the trigger.

1 comment:

A Suburban Princess said...

Enjoyed reading your thoughts about Kara Walker. I also found the exhibit very thought provoking. The New York Historical Society did an exhibit this year on slavery which revealed that slavery did not just occur in the South, but in other northern states, such as New York, as well. It was shocking for many New Yorkers like me to realize the degree to which the state benefitted economically from slavery.

If you are interested in reading my thoughts on the Kara Walker exhibit, please visit my blog

I am not an artist, so I really appreciated your perspective.