Kara Walker (Stockton, 1969) is an African-American artist who is internationally recognized because of her narrative, visual commentary on American history. Her work, inspired by portrayals of black people in the Antebellum South, raises questions on race, gender and sexuality. Walker uses the technique of cut-paper silhouettes to depict scenes which seem innocent at first but contain a horrific side at closer inspection. Walker expains: ‘Silhouettes are reductions, and racial stereotypes are also reductions of actual human beings.’ In 2007 Walker was listed among Time Magazine’s Most Influential People in The World.
Monique Duurvoort on ‘Cut’ (1998): ‘At first glance, the cheering stance of the female figure seems to suggest freedom and carelessness. But when you take a second look, you suddenly notice the puddles of blood, the razor blade and other horrific details. The suggestion of innocence combined with these discomforting elements makes for a bizarre and intrigueing picture.> Go to picture of 'Cut' by Kara Walker
> Video about Kara Walker
Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) was an American painter and illustrator. Most famous for his covers of The Saturday Evening Post showing idealized images of post-WWII America, he also had an eye for the darker side of American society. Racial integration was the theme for his 1960 piece ‘The Problem We All Live With’, depicting Ruby Bridges, the first black girl to attend an all white school in the South. One of the marshals who protected her remembers: ‘She showed a lot of courage. She never cried. She didn’t whimper. She just marched along like a little soldier and we’re all very proud of her.’
Monique Duurvoort: ‘This picture appeals to me because on the one hand we see this sweet, little, black girl wearing her spotless white dress with matching shoes, socks and ribbon. At the same time she appears very resolute, maybe even rebellious. She doesn’t show any sign of fear. Not of the racist graffiti on the wall or the throwing of tomatoes, not even of the big, white men surrounding her. The fact she has four chapperones seems rather obvious to her.’> Go to picture of 'The problem we all live with' by Norman Rockwell
> Video about Norman Rockwell