Kara Walker’s The Jubilant Martyrs of Obsolescence and Ruin (2015) has been acquired by the High Museum of Art. This is the first major work by Walker acquired by the museum, a massive cut-paper work. By Laura Relyea
A former Georgia resident who studied at the Atlanta College of Art, Walker is renowned for her cut-paper silhouette installations that explore themes of race, gender, sexuality and violence. This piece, a cut-out nearly 60 feet wide, is based on the Confederate Memorial Carving on the face of Stone Mountain, where the KKK still regularly holds rallies and has been met with resistance in recent years.
In her own act of resistance, Walker’s The Jubilant Martyrs of Obsolescence and Ruin showcases the artist’s signature satire and sardonic imagery to directly address the history of oppression and injustice experienced by Black Americans in the South with the persistence of racial and gender stereotypes and ongoing efforts to advance equality in America.
Image: Kara Walker, The Jubilant Martyrs of Obsolescence and Ruin, 2015 (detail), cut paper on wall, 165 3/8 x 698 13/16 inches. Courtesy The High Museum of Art.