Blogs Field Guide Respond to Kara Walker

Beauty within

Excellent work!! Keep on for the sake of Art! Art shall not die!! You are very much an inspiration to me as a young artist myself! The people need to see what you’ve created visually to get the message accross to the mass! Issues still lie deep within that hinder us as people from growth. […]

Excellent work!! Keep on for the sake of Art! Art shall not die!! You are very much an inspiration to me as a young artist myself! The people need to see what you’ve created visually to get the message accross to the mass! Issues still lie deep within that hinder us as people from growth.

Quote: Change is life giving. It helps us grow into someone greater than we already are…

Peace & Love,

Benetez

No ‘Passive Viewers’ Here

I didn’t want a completely passive viewer. Art means too much to me. — Kara Walker It was almost a year ago that Minneapolis Southwest High School (SWHS) signed on to craft a partnership in conjunction with the coming exhibition Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love. I knew Kara Walker’s work […]

I didn’t want a completely passive viewer. Art means too much to me.

— Kara Walker

It was almost a year ago that Minneapolis Southwest High School (SWHS) signed on to craft a partnership in conjunction with the coming exhibition Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love. I knew Kara Walker’s work was not for all high schools, but I also knew that SWHS has a history of integrating the arts and engaging students in a deep exploration of their own creativity. The school decided to include two groups of students: 11th graders taking the integrated Annenberg U.S. History and Art class, and juniors and seniors in the Advanced Fine Arts Seminar. We hoped it would spark students in this diverse community talking about race.

In the end, the students did much more than just talking — and their responses to Kara Walker’s work were anything but passive. They went deep into issues of race, identity, sexuality, violence, and the power of art.

This spring, each class came to the Art Center for tours of the Kara Walker exhibition. Then, with the support of principal Bill Smith and guidance from several teachers including art teacher Cecily Spano, history teacher, Nonie Kouneski, theatre teacher Chris Fisher, dance teacher Colleen Callahan, and teaching artist Leah Nelson, the students were invited to create art pieces responding to and expressing their experience with the work of Kara Walker.

The Walker invited them to return to the galleries to share their pieces with Kara Walker’s cut paper murals, paintings, and films as inspiration and backdrop. This happened on two nights. On April 26, the Annenberg history students invited their families, teachers, other students and friends to the “ response”. On May 8, the advanced fine arts students did the same.

Some of what I remember:

A puzzle placed throughout the galleries that when assembled listed the range of stereotypes one student had experienced….a spoken word dialogue about what is–and isn’t–power…a drummer providing jarring staccato…shadowy photographs depicting conflict. And on the second evening… a reading from a history textbook about slavery that ended with a strangled scream…a deceptively graceful dance to Billie Holiday’s haunting Strange Fruit…a frightening poem and performance reenacting rape….and much more. Listing what they did is insufficient to describe the power of what they created and what we all experienced together.

Both evenings closed with lively and moving discussions between the student performers and the audience which underscored for me why partnerships like this are an important part of my work at the Walker. The impact of Kara Walker’s work on these students was obvious and their courage in sharing so much of themselves with others will stay with me for a long time.

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Shame on me?

What would happen to Walker’s art in a world where racism didn’t exist? Does her work help us to realize a problem and to solve it, or does it perpetuate the problem? Walker’s work tries to force on me differences which I don’t perceive to exist. I see a difference of skin color, but that […]

What would happen to Walker’s art in a world where racism didn’t exist? Does her work help us to realize a problem and to solve it, or does it perpetuate the problem?

Walker’s work tries to force on me differences which I don’t perceive to exist. I see a difference of skin color, but that is really no difference at all. However, it seems that some continue to think that whites have a perpetual debt to pay to minorities for crimes committed 150 years ago. I’m sorry that slavery existed, but why should I feel shame?

If one race is constantly reminding the other of crimes long dead and buried, how will the two ever be reconciled???

New Responses to Kara Walker 2.1

In conjunction with the Walker Art Center’s exhibition, Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love, the Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council (WACTAC) created a postcard project to encourage visitors to respond to Kara Walker’s challenging work. The postcard invites visitors to reply verbally or visually to one of three prompts: What […]

In conjunction with the Walker Art Center’s exhibition, Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love, the Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council (WACTAC) created a postcard project to encourage visitors to respond to Kara Walker’s challenging work. The postcard invites visitors to reply verbally or visually to one of three prompts:

What are you suppressing?

What does power look like?

Retell a history

To weigh in on the exhibition and share your musings, pick up a postcard outside the gallery or in the Bazinet Lobby and create your reply on the back. Responses will be selected by WACTAC and posted on the Walker blog.

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By Norma Hanlon

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By Amy Frantti

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By Judith Hardim

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New Responses to Kara Walker 2.0

In conjunction with the Walker Art Center’s newly opened exhibition Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love the Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council (WACTAC) created a postcard project to encourage visitors to respond to Kara Walker’s challenging work. The postcard invites visitors to reply verbally or visually to one of three […]

In conjunction with the Walker Art Center’s newly opened exhibition Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love the Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council (WACTAC) created a postcard project to encourage visitors to respond to Kara Walker’s challenging work. The postcard invites visitors to reply verbally or visually to one of three prompts:

What are you suppressing?

What does power look like?

Retell a history

To weigh in on the exhibition and share your musings, pick up a postcard from the Bazinet Lobby and create your reply on the back. Responses will be selected by WACTAC and posted on the Walker blog.

Many of the responses in this installment are from a 1-3 grade Art Lab from Whittier Elementary School. Although they didn’t see the Kara Walker exhibition, they were able to relate to the questions on the postcards.

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By Arnaundia

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By Terrance Berglund

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By Elizabeth Gonzales

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By Minnie

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By Don Siegel

New Responses to Kara Walker

In conjunction with the Walker Art Center’s newly opened exhibition Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love, the Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council (WACTAC) created a postcard project to encourage visitors to respond to Kara Walker’s challenging work. The postcard invites visitors to reply verbally or visually to one of three […]

In conjunction with the Walker Art Center’s newly opened exhibition Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love, the Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council (WACTAC) created a postcard project to encourage visitors to respond to Kara Walker’s challenging work. The postcard invites visitors to reply verbally or visually to one of three prompts:

  • What are you suppressing?
  • What does power look like?
  • Retell a history

To weigh in on the exhibition and share your musings, pick up a postcard from the Bazinet Lobby and create your reply on the back. Responses will be selected by WACTAC and posted on the Walker blog.

Here’s what people have said so far:

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Anonymous

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Blue Delliquanti

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Katherine Rochester

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Katherine Rochester

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Lynda McDonnell

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Pearl Madryga

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Raina Belleau