Kara Walker (b.1969) is an African American artist who works across many medias, exploring controversial themes of race, gender, sexuality, and violence. She is best known for her appropriation of the silhouette, which she has used in room-sized installations, sculptures, and smaller works on paper.
Walker’s work illustrates and overlays racial stereotypes of the past and present; her work not only addresses slavery and racial discrimination in the antebellum South, but also raises awareness to the intrinsic bigotry that still exists throughout the United States. At age 28, Walker became the youngest person to accept the MacArthur Foundation Scholarship, an honor that was as prestigious as it was controversial. Walker’s art has been exhibited at major institutions such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. In 2002, Walker was appointed as the United States representative to the São Paulo Biennale in Brazil.