Kara Walker: AFRICAN´T
29 April–6 June 1999
“Large cut-out boxes that cover the entire gallery wall relocate the viewer to a time long ago. The American South with crinolines, bonnets, shaded porches and sun-drenched cotton fields. A wild and exciting Storybook-Africa with exotic dances and tall palm trees. But upon closer inspection, the good old days that Kara Walker cut out and which stand out in black against the white wall, turns out to be all but romantic or exciting. She uses a technique loaded with nostalgia to draw attention to the abuses of the old slave era and expose racial prejudices that still live with us today. In the middle of watermelons, swinging skirts and laughing black children, I see a raped slave woman. Another picture shows a cruel cannibalistic African woman cooking her victim. Kara Walker’s use of the contrasts of the silhouette image makes the mechanics of the ‘either or’ of race stereotypes visible. In Western image history, black people are portrayed as either happy children or threatening savages. The stereotype does not allow for contradictions.”
Translated quote from DN, 1999-06-01, Sara Arrhenius. Read full text in Swedish.