Kara Walker

African American painter and installation artist

Kara Elizabeth Walker (born November 26, 1969) is an American contemporary painter, silhouettist, print-maker, installation artist, filmmaker, and professor who explores race, gender, sexuality, violence, and identity in her work. She is best known for her room-size tableaux of black cut-paper silhouettes. Walker has been the Tepper Chair in Visual Arts at the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University since 2015.

Kara Walker in 2013


  • There is I suppose, historically, this seminal moment in the lives of African Americans where one becomes black. Frantz Fanon and everyone talks about it. There is a moment when you go from subject to object and I guess that was my moment…
  • I think there are many open-ended questions that artists can pose and we can ask communities to feel empowered enough to reply, respond, rebel, and feel amazed by the relentless spiraling of thought and image and action that is the artist's profession.
  • Expectations on the performance of race and gender are simultaneously high and low, depending on who is looking or asking. I prefer to keep all the options in the air, to try and better understand the conundrum that inequality creates---not just in culture, but internally.
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