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Kara Walker

Depicted by Keagan Murphy

November 26, 1969 - Present

Parents Dana & Larry Walker

Kara Walker is a prolific and complex American artist who gained

notoriety on the national and international level for her cut-paper

silhouettes depicting historical narratives haunted by sexuality, violence

& subjugation. She uses various mediums including drawing, painting,

text, shadow puppetry, film & sculpture. She uses her art to draw viewers

in and force them to contemplate and examine contemporary racial and

gender stereotypes.

Kara Walker is from Stockton, California who attended Atlanta College of

Art for her undergraduate degree and received a masters from our very

own Rhode Island School of Design. In the start of her career, she

debuted in a 1994 group exhibition at the Drawing Center with the

25-foot-long wall installation Gone: An Historical Romance of a Civil War

as It Occurred b’tween the Dusky Thighs of One Young Negress and Her

Heart (1994). Like so much of Walker’s art, this piece is a reflection and

commentary of the ongoing psychological injury caused by the tragic

legacy of slavery for the black community.

Walker’s artistic impact and accolades are just as diverse as her chosen

mediums. In 1997, at age 28, Walker became one of the youngest to ever

receive a MacArthur Fellowship. She was also the United States

representative to the Bienal de São Paulo in 2002. Not to mention that in

2012 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Kara

Walker’s dedication to telling the forgotten and suppressed stories of

the African American experience is as bold as it is brave, and she

continues to push viewers to face the hard truths of our pasts.