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The Shadow Act: Kara Walker’s Vision Paper

In the article “The Shadow Act: Kara Walker’s Vision” Hilton Als profiles life retrospective of artist Kara Walker. Actually, it is a traveling retrospective which Walker called “My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love”. Hilton Als writes that Walkers “combs the mansions and swamps of the antebellum South to find her characters, whose surroundings are a visual corollary of their fetid imaginations and musty souls”. (p. 70) We see that Als meets Walkers in a Paris restaurant before the opening of Walter’s retrospective.

Als says that Walker’s retrospective is emotionally and intellectually ambitious provided with provocative and disputable images. Interestingly, Als compares Kara to Daumier, but she argues that Kara is more than simply caricaturist. Kara Walter tells about her family – about her sister Dana, about her daughter and about her mother Gwendolyn. Further, the author and Walker discuss “The End of Uncle Tom and the Grand Allegorical Tableau of Eva in Heaven”.

Als writes that Walker pays attention to the issue of slavery in her work and argues that Americans haven’t yet awakened. Then Walkers reconciles her childhood telling that when she was 13, her family was force to move to a suburb of Atlanta and Kara managed to become the chairman of the art department. Walker described her interest in relationship between black woman and white man. She defines such relations as complicated describing a white man “a sadist, a racist, a misogynist”. (p. 6) Further, Hilton describes silhouette technique and professional development of Kara.

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Als writes that Walker was awarded a MacArthur fellowship, but her award was wrapped up in lots o controversy. Actually, Kara Walker is strongly interested in identity topics. For example, when she exposed to the work of Adrian Pieper, she decided to create her famous work “Black/White (grey) notes on Adrian Piper”. Hilton Als characterizes Kara Walters as highly talented and ambitious women full of hopes and desires to express her inner world and true essence.

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