About the Artist
Often provocative and humorous, Kara Walker’s work explores the tensions and power plays of racial and gender relations. Walker's work engages with historical narratives, particularly the experience of African Americans in the antebellum American south, and the ways in which these stories have been suppressed, distorted and falsified. Hers is an ongoing exploration of the brutalising histories of colonialism and slavery, and the political and psychological consequences that accompanies identity formation in contexts of violence and oppression.
By Anna Coatman
On 17 June 2015, a white man opened fire on a prayer group in Charleston, South Carolina, killing nine people. Nine black people or, rather, ‘nine more’, as the US artist Kara Walker puts it in an interview with photographer and filmmaker Ari Marcopoulos, published alongside ‘Go to Hell or Atlanta, Whichever Comes First’ – the first of two solo shows across Victoria Miro’s London spaces. After the shooting, pictures emerged of the gunman posing in front of the Confederate flag – a relic from the Civil War, now shorthand for white supremacy – sparking protest over its continued display in a number of US states. Racism was supposed to be a thing of the past, so why was a symbol so closely associated with it still flying?