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Artist Motivations: Kara Walker

This video takes us into the art making process from the point of view of artist Kara Walker and the choices they make in her work.
<v ->In this video, artist, Kara Walker,</v> and musician, Jason Moran, show how their collaborative installation, “Katastwof Karavan” at Algiers Point, New Orleans, Louisiana, US pays tribute to Africans brought there by ship to be sold into slavery in the 1700s. The word, katastwof, is Haitian Creole for catastrophe. Walker shares her impulse to learn about the music she heard playing in the distance when visiting the area and discusses that through further research into the specifics of that music, its relationship to slavery, and the catchy, upbeat melodies that serve to mask the horrid reality of enslavement and slave owners’ complicity led her creative choices in designing “Katastwóf Karavan.”
Walker also plays with the notion of unquestioned acceptance of public culture, such as monuments, and how once they are placed, they can just sort of disappear. She felt that this stationary object she was creating needed to be activated, to differentiate from commemorative monuments, specifically Confederate monuments, that have an unacknowledged presence. Her work is saying, listen up, open your eyes and ears, don’t forget about slavery. Human beings were sold here. I think you’ll find this conversation and insight into the artist’s motivations fascinating.

Gaining insight into an artist’s process and motivation helps strengthen visual literacy, and helps us view artwork critically and in greater depth beyond an initial reaction.

Watch this video that takes us into the art making process of artist Kara Walker and the motivating factors behind her installation The Katastwóf Karavan.

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Visualizing Women's Work: Using Art Media for Social Justice

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