Kara Walker: Rise Up Ye Mighty Race!

This past week, I stopped by the Art Institute and saw the Kara Walker exhibit, “Rise Up Ye Mighty Race!” which is up through August 11 (free during Thursday evening  hours of 5-8pm).  Walker deals with the themes of racism, sexism and their respective stereotypes, among other things.  While the show wasn’t too large, I definitely recommend seeing it.  Here are some images from the show:

kara-walker-installation1_480 kara-walker-installation3_480 Kara-Walker-Theater_480

Here’s some background on the artist from the Art Institute website:

“Kara Walker (American, born 1969) is best known for cut-paper silhouettes that critically address race, gender, sexuality, and power. Most often taking the form of large-scale tableaux of antebellum stereotypes, they present slavery as an absurd theater of eroticized violence and self-deprecating behavior. Her flat caricatures—mammies, sambos, slave mistresses, masters, and Southern belles—are depicted nearly life-size, arranged in narrative sequences that further exaggerate the already grotesque history of slavery. For Walker, the simplified details of a human form in the black cutouts resonate with racial stereotypes. She has said, “The silhouette says a lot with very little information, but that’s also what the stereotype does.”

No one can explain her art better than Kara Walker herself, therefore, here’s an interview she did for the Chicago Humanities Festival with the curator of the show, Lisa Dorin:


If you’re not up for this lengthy interview, here’s another (shorter) video on Kara Walker.

Images borrowed from the Art Institute of Chicago website.


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