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Kara Walker

Darkytown Rebellion (2001) by Kara Walker (b. 1969, Stockton) is a large-scale mixed media installation composed of seventeen cut paper silhouettes, a framed landscape painting and wall projection. It depicts a violent rebellion in which a group of enslaved people attempt to overthrow their enslavers. Scenes of racialised violence are common in Walker's work, which focuses on the antebellum period of US history and uses the form of the silhouette to question our assumptions of how skin colour affects how one looks or acts. In Darkytown Rebellion characters drawn from racist stereotypes are presented as life-sized figures on a single plane at the same level as their audience, implicating the viewer in the imagery. The work's title features a racial slur and was taken from an anonymous landscape titled Darkytown, which Walker found in the 1942 catalogue American Primitive Painting. A version of this painting, titled Darkytown Redux, After Anonymous (in which the figures have been removed from the composition) is included in the installation. Depicting farmhouses within a flat green and yellow landscape in a naive style, it stands at odds with the violent imagery in the rest of the work.


  1. Kara Walker Darkytown Rebellion, 2001

    Papier découpé et projection murale
    475 x 1143 cm
    Collection Mudam Luxembourg
    Acquisition 2002
    Vue de l’exposition Le meilleur des mondes (du point de vue de la Collection Mudam), 31.01.2010 – 23.05.2010, Mudam Luxembourg
    © Photo : Andrés Lejona | Mudam Luxembourg

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