Kara Walker (American, born 1969)
gouache on paper
9 1/16 x 12 3/8 in. (23.02 x 31.43 cm)
Gift of Marion Boulton “Kippy” Stroud Foundation, 2020.39.4. © Kara Walker
American artist Kara Walker is best known for her silhouette figures. These works are often the result of a series of preparatory drawings that explore subjects and develop compositions. Quadroon Song and The Hi-Brids suggest the artist reckoning with the effects of miscegenation on people of African descent. Presented in these drawings are faces with stereotypical physiognomic features such as large foreheads and big lips, possibly the artist’s signaling of an African ancestry. In Crossover Artist, Walker seems to question her relationship to her art, as the left figure appears to be merging with the stoic figure profiled to the right. Poor Baby depicts a woman spilling milk while a nest of snakes nips at her body, prompting the viewer to question the act of violence done to the Black body. Together, these drawings explore themes found across her practice.