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Maker(s):Walker, Kara Elizabeth
Culture:American (1969- )
Title:Pack-Mules in the Mountains, from the series Harper's Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated)
Date Made:2005 plate; 2005 print
Materials:Offset lithograph and silkscreen on Somerset textured paper
Place Made:North America; United States; New York; New York City
Measurements:Frame: 58 in x 44 in x 2 1/4 in; 147.3 cm x 111.8 cm x 5.7 cm; Sheet: 52 15/16 in x 39 in; 134.5 cm x 99.1 cm; Image: 33 9/16 in x 24 9/16 in; 85.2 cm x 62.4 cm
Narrative Inscription:  SIGNATURE: recto lwr. r. (pencil): KW ; DATE: recto lwr. r. (pencil): 2005 ; EDITION NUMBER: recto lwr. r. (pencil): 1/35 ; ACCESSION NUMBER: verso lwr. r. (pencil): 2012.14.13 ; INSCRIPTION: verso lwr. r. (stamp in amber ink): [illegible] (inscribed in circle)
Accession Number:  MH 2012.14.13
Credit Line:Purchase with the Susan and Bernard Schilling (Susan Eisenhart, Class of 1932) Fund and the Belle and Hy Baier Art Acquisition Fund
Museum Collection:  Mount Holyoke College Art Museum

Cut-out of a figure with thin, twig-like arms and club right foot facing right and wearing a hat, holding a pale in its right hand and a hoe in its left with a dismembered arm by its feet, inside a silhouette of a man facing left. The silhouette is printed over the image of an African American man wearing a hat and holding a walking stick, on the right, leading a group of pack mules through a landscape.

Label Text:
Contemporary artist Kara Walker’s work reminds us of the inherent subjectivity of historical perspective. This work is one of 15 prints belonging to Walker’s powerful series in which she enlarges selected images from two volumes of Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (1866–68) and then “annotates” them by superimposing her signature silhouettes, thereby disrupting the original narrative. Walker inserts issues of racial stereotypes, slavery, gender, and the violence of oppression otherwise absent in these mid-19th century representations.

-Ellen Alvord, Weatherbie Curator of Education and Academic Programs, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum (Sept. 2016)

diaspora; slavery; African American

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