Silhouette of a large nude woman in the center, facing and striding left with her arm out in front of her. Behind her, on the right, a smaller silhouette of a figure holding an axe. Both are printed over an image of a small encampment of soldiers - one standing holding a signal flag next to a tent, one sitting on horseback on the left - atop a crest.
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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