Kara Walker

On my recent trip to The Broad Museum, I was walking around the galleries with my Scottish friend, she was unfamiliar with a lot of the work showing at the Museum and had never seen Kara Walkers work before. As we entered the Walker installation ,featuring her black paper cutouts scattered over a large curved wall, she expressed delight, as they carried some residue of childhood imagery for her. Almost immediately the realization of what these shapes actually represented ,sunk in ; images of rape, mutilation of lynching and whipping, my friend gasped.

I thought to myself , if I was Kara Walker, this would be the perfect reaction that I would want. The cutout shapes luring the viewer into a sort of seduction of form and the sudden gasp as the content is revealed. The subtlety or not of the racism expressed is revealed so perfectly in that pause . See below a drawing from my sketchbook, completely unrelated.