Reflection to Kara Walker’s art work

Reflection to Kara Walker’s art work

The main body of first picture, from left to right, is a woman feeding a child in a strange gesture in the middle of the image. She doesn’t hold this child. Instead, it looks like that this boy is hanging in the mid air without touching the ground. He only encircles his arm on her waist in order to get to the breast. The boy is wearing a piece of leather shoes while the woman is walking in bare feet,wearing a wrap dress made of rags. And at the bottom center of this image is a piece of land which extends to the second picture. What’s more. slightly below the center of the second image is a little girl, curly long hair with a bow tied on her hair, riding an animal running like a hunting dog but with some grass or wheat in its mouse. Under the beast feet or at the bottom center of the picture, there are no lands. Only four piece of small rocks distribute seperatedly. The girl’s body is facing the woman on the left but the dog is running toward the right. And we can see that the girl is reaching out one of her hands to the woman for help.

For the next three artworks, there is a female woman at the center of the third image. The thing under her feet are not rocks any more. Instead, three heads come out from water in half. One of the woman’s foot steps on the middle of these heads and looks like falling because of the loss of balance. When it comes to the fourth picture, there is only a man, at the bottom right corner, stretches out his neck and faces toward the upper right. He also reach out half of his right hand. That’s the only things in this picture. Lastly, there is a man grabbing a little girl’s neck and holding her in mid air. This man is well-dressed,wearing a top hat and tail coats. The girl is poor and she wears nothing but a pair of shoes. What is more, the man with the hat is reaching out his left leg and is about to kick the boy on the fourth picture.

When looking at this art collection from a distance at the first sight, the movements, the intimate physical contact,the silhouette of a little girl with the pony, they all give me an impression of joy and harmony. But when I take a close look at them, the theme totally changed. They are full of violence, injustice and terror instead. For me, this whole collection are telling a story or depicting the social situation at that period. From left to right, the black slave was taking care of White man’s kid. But her own child was taken way or send to somewhere else for something like the slave trade. And when they were trying to escape from this terribly society, the only thing happened was unavoidable deaths, even the little children. They thought they got ashore and had found a new island. But the slave holders were already waiting on the shore.

1 Comment

  1. derek haffar · September 4, 2017 Reply

    Thank you for this careful reading and description of Kara Walkers piece. It is clear that you spent some time with it. I think the physical description is helpful.

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