Kara Walker’s Silhouettes

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This week’s project got me thinking about cutouts and the idea of illuminating vs. concealing. Kara Walker is an artist who uses shadow, rather than light, as a means of creating beautiful and provocative narratives. Her solid black silhouettes simplify forms and block out details but illicit complex responses from viewers. We are left to fill in the blanks for ourselves, revealing beliefs about gender and race that we may not have realized we held in the first place. Her PBS Art21 video (http://www.pbs.org/art21/artists/kara-walker) is fantastic, describing her very personal struggles with identity, stereotypes, and history. By making such deliberately ambiguous art, she ensures that every viewer will have an equally personal response… really amazing work.

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