Renowned for her recent monumental installations, drawing on paper remains the foundation of Kara Walker’s creative practice, offering an air of spontaneity and unfiltered emotion which make this volume an unprecedented insight into Walker’s world, influences, and topics. Many of her works on paper are executed with a brush, which lends them a flowing and open dynamic. Small sketches, studies, collages, and meticulously finished large-format works appear side by side with diaristic notes, typewritten reflections on index cards, and dream journals. The intimacy of each individual page contrasts with the stunning range of works. Flipping through this publication, the reader effectively becomes an eyewitness to the genesis of Walker’s art, observing her as she enacts her thinking on the paper and adapts, invents, and transforms figures and narratives. Scrutinizing her own identity—as an artist, an African-American, a woman, and a mother—Walker probes both its personal dimension and its social implications in the context of current events. The latter aspect is prominent in four new sensational portraits that reflect on Barack Obama’s presidency and lasting influence.
A unique opportunity to encompass the celebrated and impacting universe of Kara Walker, this publication gathers together 600+ works on paper realized by the artist between 1993 and 2020—most of them being reproduced for the first time, as they come out from her until now zealously-guarded private archive.