Kara E. Walker

Installation Artist Class of 1997
location icon Location
Providence, Rhode Island
age iconAge
28 at time of award
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About Kara's Work

Kara Walker is an artist whose works often deal with issues of race in the antebellum South.

Walker's installations, drawings, and paintings are provocative and grimly humorous.  In her installations, she creates narratives of the old South by cutting stylized, life-sized figures from black paper that she pastes, as in a mural, around the walls of the gallery she is showing in.  Her use of the silhouette technique and related sources derive from the German fairy tale, history painting, and colonial portraiture.  Walker’s installations, filled with slave-era, stereotypical figures, are graphic and violent tableaus that explore the vestiges of sexual, physical, and racial exploitation in a challenging manner.


Walker is an associate professor in the Visual Arts division at Columbia University.  Since 1990, she has participated in group exhibits at galleries throughout the United States and abroad, including the Whitney Biennial (1997) and the Sao Paulo Biennial, Brazil (2002).  She has had solo exhibits at Wooster Gardens in New York (1995, 1996, 1998), the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago (1997), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1997), and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis (1997). 

Walker received a B.F.A. (1991) from the Atlanta College of Art and an M.F.A. (1994) from the Rhode Island School of Design.

Last updated January 1, 2005

Published on July 1, 1997

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