Testimony Suite #1-5, 2005
Artist: Kara Walker
Photogravure; Edition: 26/40
16 1/2 x 21 3/4 inches (paper size); signed, dated, and numbered
Born on November 26, 1969 in Stockton, CA, the artist received her BFA from Atlanta College of Art in 1991 and her MFA in painting and printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design three years later. Success came just out of school, with Walker becoming one of the youngest recipients of the MacArthur Fellowship at age 28. Her Gone: A Historical Romance of a Civil War as It Occurred Between the Dusky Thighs of One Young Negress and Her Heart (1994) was an early example of the artist’s hallmark style.
Kara Walker is known for her exploration of race, stereotypes, gender, and identity throughout American history. She is best known for her large-scale tableaux of collaged silhouettes amidst black-and-white pastoral landscapes. Often filled with brutal and harrowing imagery, Walker provocatively illustrates the country’s origins of slavery in the antebellum South. “I didn’t want a completely passive viewer. Art means too much to me. To be able to articulate something visually is really an important thing,” the artist explained. “I wanted to make work where the viewer wouldn’t walk away; he would giggle nervously, get pulled into history, into fiction, into something totally demeaning and possibly very beautiful.”