The silhouette says a lot with very little information, but that's also what the stereotype does.

— Kara Walker

The most contentment Kara Walker quotes you will be delighted to read

There's no diploma in the world that declares you as an artist—it's not like becoming a doctor. You can declare yourself an artist and then figure out how to be an artist.

113

Silhouettes are reductions, and racial stereotypes are also reductions of actual human beings.

97

I didn’t want a completely passive viewer.

Art means too much to me. To be able to articulate something visually is really an important thing. I wanted to make work where the viewer wouldn’t walk away; he would giggle nervously, get pulled into history, into fiction, into something totally demeaning and possibly very beautiful

70

If you're a Black artist, you could paint a wall of smiley faces, and someone will still ask you, 'Why are you so angry?'

66

A lot of my work has been about the unexpected—that kind of wanting to be the heroine and yet wanting to kill the heroine at the same time. That kind of dilemma—that push and pull—is the underlying turbulence that I bring to each of the pieces that I make.

55

Im not really about blackness, per se, but about blackness and whiteness, and what they mean and how they interact with one another and what power is all about.

48

I think really the whole problem with racism and its continuing legacy in this country is that we simply love it. Who would we be without the 'struggle?'

35

I don't think that my work is actually effectively dealing with history.

I think of my work as subsumed by history or consumed by history.

34

One of my earliest memories involves sitting on my dad’s lap in his studio in the garage of our house and watching him draw. I remember thinking: ‘I want to do that, too,’ and I pretty much decided then and there at age 2½ or 3 that I was an artist just like Dad.

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I often compare my method of working to that of a well-meaning freed woman in a Northern state who is attempting to delineate the horrors of Southern slavery but with next to no resources, other than some paper and a pen knife and some people she'd like to kill

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Sugar crystallizes something in our American Soul.

It is emblematic of all Industrial Processes. And of the idea of becoming white. White Being equated with pure and ‘true’ it takes a lot of energy to turn brown things into white things. A lot of pressure.

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