This month, Kara Walker’s exhibition Go to Hell or Atlanta, Whichever Comes First opens at Victoria Miro in London, so we thought we would share our copy of her artist’s book Freedom: A Fable – a curious interpretation of the wit of a negress in troubled times, with illustrations.
Kara Walker was born in California, in 1969. The daughter of an artist, she knew by 3 years old that she too wanted to make art. In 1994, Walker’s paper cut mural Gone, An Historical Romance of a Civil War as It Occurred Between the Dusky Thighs of One Young Negress and Her Heart brought her to the attention of the art world. In 1997, she became the second youngest recipient of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s fellowship, or “genius grant”. Walker’s artworks explore historical narratives surrounding race and gender, with a focus on the antebellum American south. She often uses simple paper cut silhouettes to create complex narratives.
Freedom: A Fable was commissioned and privately published by art patron Peter Norton as a Christmas gift to his friends. Inside, there is a Christmas card from the Norton family inserted. The title was published as a limited edition of 4000. The book is leather bound, with a small ship embossed on the cover. Walker’s paper cut silhouettes are featured, but instead of wall-size murals they are included as pop-up sections of the book. They are incredibly intricate and tell part of the story of N–, a former slave who has been emancipated after the Civil War.
Walker’s exhibition, Go to Hell or Atlanta, Whichever Comes First, is on at Victoria Miro from October 1, 2015 – November 7, 2015 in London