Kara Walker, Norma

Kara Walker, Norma, 2015
Graphite on paper
30.9 x 38.1 cm 121/8 x 15in

LondonArt & Culture

Kara Walker, Norma

Politically-charged American artist Kara Walker gives rare insight into working process at London exhibition...

We last saw New York-based artist Kara Walker in the summer of 2014, with the staggering scale of A Subtlety, a monumental installation exploring the horrific history of sugar production and slavery at Brooklyn’s Domino Sugar Refinery. The scale may be different here in London, but the subject matter is far from.

Kara Walker, Norma at Victoria Miro Mayfair, London

Kara Walker, Untitled, 2015
Spray paint on vellum
47.4 x 61.4 cm 185/8 x 241/8in

It wouldn’t be Kara Walker if it was. The California-born artist cuts close to the bone on matters of race and gender, so often immersed in the history of racial inequality … how official stories have stifled the reality of suffering; of oppression and of violence.

Showing at Victoria Miro Mayfair, Walker exhibits drawings, sketches, and models that show her meticulous working process. In particular, the process behind her reworking of Norma, Vincenzo Bellini’s 1831 opera — which she moved from Roman Gaul to an African colony under European control in the late 19th century for a presentation at last year’s 56th Venice Biennale. Commissioned by Okwui Enwezor, Walker directed and designed the reimagined two-act opera … creating both set and costumes; the preparatory work for which standing alone as an impressive body of work in its own right.

Noma runs at Victoria Miro Mayfair until 16 January.


Norma Sculptural Costume

Kara Walker, Norma Sculptural Costume, 2015
Watercolour and graphite on paper
40x52cm 153/4 x 201/2in

Sculptural Model for Norma Dress

Kara Walker, Sculptural Model for Norma Dress, 2015
Watercolour on paper
127x97cm 50 x 381/4in

Kara Walker, Untitled

Kara Walker, Untitled, 2015
Charcoal on paper
127.5 x 97 cm 501/4 x 381/4in

Kara Walker, Masks

Kara Walker, Masks, 2015
Watercolour on paper
127x97cm 50 x 381/4in

Landscape Draft

Kara Walker, Landscape Draft, 2015
Chalk pastel on paper
57×76.5cm 221/2 x 301/8in

Pollione Draft 2

Kara Walker, Pollione Draft 2, Adalgisa Version 1, Chorus, 2015
Chalk pastel on paper
97x127cm 381/4 x 50in

Kara Walker, Jungle

Kara Walker, Jungle, 2015
29.3 x 40.6 cm 111/2 x 16in