Kara Walker (American, born Stockton, California, 1969)
Linocut, edition 10/40
46 1/2 × 60 1/2 in. (118.1 × 153.7 cm)
Gift of The Peter Norton Family Foundation, 1998
Not on view
Silhouettes - those traditionally small and genteel forms of nineteenth-century portraiture - are (sometimes literally) turned on their heads in Kara Walker's work. Since the 1990s she has been making large-scale silhouettes out of cut-black paper as well as prints that are either framed or applied directly to white walls at times around entire rooms. Boldly graphic in their black-on-white design and beautifully crafted with intricate cutouts, these elegant works nevertheless address difficult and heinous subjects in American history related to racial stereotyping, slavery, and the subjugation of women. The artist described this particular figure as "your essentialist-token slave maiden in midair."
Inscription: (across bottom of sheet): L.L.: 10/40 L.C.: African / American L.R. KW 98
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Provocative Visions: Race and Identity–Selections from the Permanent Collection," August 19, 2008–March 22, 2009, no catalogue.