The Book Of Jezebel: W Is For Walker, Kara

It's here! Today we are welcoming our first book, a 300-page, hardcover, illustrated encyclopedia called The Book of Jezebel. In honor of this milestone —which took many years and dozens of contributors to execute—we're posting one entry from the book a day, starting with "A" and continuing on through to "Z." As always, questions, additions, annotations and suggestions on the entries that appear online are welcomed and encouraged.

Walker, Kara (1969-)

Contemporary artist who explores the black female American experience through larger-than-life cut-paper silhouettes. Walker draws on images of African Americans from the past, specifically the antebellum South, as well as stories and folktales, to explore slavery, desire, and violence. She was one of the youngest recipients of a MacArthur "genius" grant. Walker's work remains highly controversial, both for its graphic and often grotesque imagery and for her use of African American stereotypes. Walker notably likened the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to the conditions on slave ships: "I was seeing images that were all too familiar. It was black people in a state of life-or-death desperation, and everything corporeal was coming to the surface: water, excrement, sewage. It was a re-inscription of all the stereotypes about the black body."