"Walker is less an artist of history, whether racial or artistic history, than a historian of fantasy."
–Triangular Trade: Coloring, Remarking, and Narrative in the Writings of Kara Walker. Introduction text by Kevin Young.
A couple weeks ago, I was finally able to add this book, "Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love", to my collection. It was on sale at Strand for $35.
It was one of my reference books in the school library for years. This book focuses on Walker's works on paper and her index card text writings. It also includes an illustrated glossary of her most common visual and character motifs by Yasmil Raymond called "Maladies of Power: A Kara Walker Lexicon".
I repeatedly go back to it to study covert, private, and perverse histories. Walker's work powerfully inhabits the liminal space where fact and fiction collide. It's a complex reference text for my ongoing interests in giving visual form to unimaginable transgressions (her figures often reenact perverse versions of the past in an attempt to subvert power relations) and the often times ambivalent subconscious narratives beneath collective identities.