• Looking Anywhere But At You: The Gaze in Kara Walker's Silhouettes

    Author(s):
    Charles Gleek (see profile)
    Date:
    2017
    Group(s):
    MS Visual Culture, TM Literary and Cultural Theory
    Subject(s):
    African-American art, African American culture, African American literature
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    kara walker, post soul aesthetic
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M62R70
    Abstract:
    The silhouetted cutouts in Kara Walker's Gone: An Historical Romance of a Civil War as It Occurred b'tween the Dusky Thighs of One Young Negress and Her Heart are fine with being seen but care little for the actual presence of the viewer. They're kissing and sucking, fucking and birthing, playing and pillorying all without shame or service to the viewer. Walker’s image depicts bodies, not as objects for gazing upon, but are subjects which look back or better yet look away from the viewer. Read this way, the figures in Walker’s work serve to disrupt the viewer’s perspective and meaning of race, and in turn represent the shifting complexity and diversity of contemporary African American identity, all through a gaze directed anywhere but towards the viewer’s own.
    Metadata:
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    2 years ago
    License:
    Attribution
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