Burning African Village Play Set with Big House and Lynching
In several mediums, Kara Walker subverts the original function of nineteenth-century cut-paper silhouettes, initially used for genteel portraits of socially prominent individuals. She reinterprets them to create intense explorations of relationships based on power. Here, working in cut steel, Walker gathers into a set the stereotypical Civil War-era imagery of the South—a stately plantation mansion, small huts, enslaved African Americans, Confederate soldiers, and Southern belles.
As she explores afresh the interplay between these familiar elements, Walker’s “play set” seems to suggest that the cast of characters and their settings could be rearranged—creating new narratives that revolve around the continuing issues of oppression and power, race and gender, with a disturbing sense of moral ambiguity.
Painted laser-cut steel
24 x 38 1/4 x 90 in. (61 x 97.2 x 228.6 cm) (show scale)
Purchased with funds given by John and Barbara Vogelstein and Stephanie and Tim Ingrassia
This item is not on view
Kara Walker (American, born 1969). Burning African Village Play Set with Big House and Lynching, 2006. Painted laser-cut steel, 24 x 38 1/4 x 90 in. (61 x 97.2 x 228.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased with funds given by John and Barbara Vogelstein and Stephanie and Tim Ingrassia, 2008.53.1a-v. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2008.53.1a-v_detail1_PS4.jpg)
detail, 2008.53.1a-v_detail1_PS4.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2012
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© Kara Walker; Courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
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