Kara Walker Landfall Press, Inc.
The Means to an End…A Shadow Drama in Five Acts
American, b. 1969
Landfall Press, Inc., publisher
The Means to an End…A Shadow Drama in Five Acts, The Means to an End…A Shadow Drama in Five Acts, 1995
Five etchings with aquatint on paper
Sheet: 88.9 x 59.4 cm (35 x 23 3/8 inches) (each sheet)
Walter H. Kimball Fund 1996.1
Walker’s striking visual narratives of the American South before the Civil War gained immediate notice in the art world as she completed her graduate studies at RISD in 1994. Embedding her charged imagery within the polite tradition of the nineteenth-century silhouette, she reveals un-spoken truths about racial and sexual taboos. In contrast to the stark black-and-white of her medium, the interpretation of The Means to an End is anything but clear-cut. Walker works against the expected narrative of an African-American woman artist. Her female protagonists are neither villains nor heroines, but players in a narrative of power.