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Transcript of KARA WALKER
"Untitled (Hunting Scenes),"
Cut paper and adhesive on wall
Left panel: 98 x 68 inches Right panel: 103 x 63 inches
Born in Stockton, California in 1969
Works in large black cut-paper silhouettes.
Explores race, gender, sexuality, violence and identity in her work.
MFA from Rhode Island School of Design
Kara Walker currently lives and works in New York City
Cut paper on wall, Installation
144 x 1,020 inches, 365.76 x 2,590.8 cm
Burning African Village Play Set with Big House and Lynching
Painted laser-cut steel
24 x 38 1/4 x 90 in.
Cut paper and adhesive on wall.
9' x 67'
The paper cut outs of the image
Untitled (Hunting Scene)
by Kara Walker are all black on a white background. They create silhouettes of figures and organic shapes that resemble plants, clouds, fire, a stream, tree limbs, grass, and heads on top of sticks. There are two figures to the left of the image facing right. One is crouching, the other is standing. Their silhouettes show their profiles to include long facial hair and pointy facial features. It looks as though they are holding guns. At the end of the gun of the crouching figure it looks like there are heads of humans attached. The facial features of these faces are rounder. On the right side of what looks to be a stream there is a nude and thin figure standing. He appears to be holding on of the sticks with a head attached at the top.
The black silhouettes on the stark white background creates a bold contrast. The complex organic shapes jump off of the page because of this light to dark contrast. The curved lines of the plants and the directions of the pointing guns and the body positions create movement in the image that carries your eye from left to right. The repetition of the body-less heads is jarring. It shows a variety of profiles with varying facial features and hair styles.
The artwork of Kara Walker tends to comment on the black and white relationships during the time of slavery. The difference in lines that create the facial features of each silhouette leads the viewer to believe that the two men with guns are white men holding the heads of African Americans on sticks. And in contrast the figure standing on the right appears to be African American holding the heads of white men and women. The title implies that the figures have killed the people whose heads the are holding because in a hunt you are killing your prey. The fact that the African American is holding heads of white men might imply a hope of revenge for the deaths of their people.