American artist Kara Walker (b. 1969) fills all three gallery spaces at Camden Arts Centre over the autumn months. Renouncing the sensitivity that often shrouds the subject, Walker’s work critically and unapologetically interrogates underlying racial and gender tensions. Through characters drawn from American popular literature, culture and history, she exposes the myths that lie beneath cultural archetypes and the darker aspects of human behaviour.
Walker’s new work reflects her current research into the White Supremacist movement and gun culture in the US. Peopled with subjects from both past and contemporary history, the work weaves together historical documents of slavery with more recent racial issues.
The exhibition brings together several important bodies of recent work. Dust Jackets for the Niggerati is a series of large graphite drawings, conceived as book covers for unwritten essays and works of fiction, which investigates pivotal transitions in black American history and the missing narratives of the black migration. Shown alongside a video installation of her shadow play Fall Frum Grace- Miss Pipi’s Blue Tale and intricately cut silhouette installations, the ‘wall samplers’, the exhibition addresses highly-charged subjects of repression, discrimination and sexual violence.
Connecting all of the work is an examination of power, racial myths and stereotypes. Using graphically simple and traditional media, Walker articulates suffering and violence within American history that continues to resonate in society today.
Supported by Vicky Hughes and John Smith
Paint kindly provided by Farrow & Ball
Organised in partnership with The MAC, Belfast