Burning African Village Play Set with Big House and Lynching
Kara Walker subverts the original function of nineteenth-century cut-paper silhouettes, initially used for portraits of socially prominent individuals. She reinterprets the medium to create intense explorations of relationships based on power. Here, working in cut steel, Walker includes stereotypical Civil War imagery of the South—a stately plantation mansion, small huts, enslaved African Americans, Confederate soldiers, and Southern belles.
As she explores stereotypes, Walker offers no resolution, and her presentation includes neither villains nor heroes. This “play set” even seems to suggest that the cast of characters and their settings could be reorganized, creating new narratives that revolve around issues of oppression and power, race and gender, and moral ambiguity.
Painted laser-cut steel
24 x 38 1/4 x 90 in. (61 x 97.2 x 228.6 cm) (show scale)
This item is not on view
Purchased with funds given by John and Barbara Vogelstein and Stephanie and Tim Ingrassia
© artist or artist's estate
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Kara Walker (American, born 1969). Burning African Village Play Set with Big House and Lynching, 2006. Painted laser-cut steel, 24 x 38 1/4 x 90 in. (61 x 97.2 x 228.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased with funds given by John and Barbara Vogelstein and Stephanie and Tim Ingrassia, 2008.53.1a-v. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2008.53.1a-v_detail4_PS4.jpg)
detail, 2008.53.1a-v_detail4_PS4.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2012
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