Alabama Loyalists Greeting the Federal Gun-Boats


Kara Walker, Alabama Loyalists Greeting the Federal Gun-Boats, from the portfolio Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated), 2005, offset lithograph and screenprint on paper, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC.

Kara Elizabeth Walker is an American contemporary artist and professor who explores race, gender, sexuality, violence, and identity in her work. With a nod to European history painting traditions, Walker most notably creates panoramic scenes with silhouettes based on American history, literature and the Bible. Her silhouette characters live in a nightmarish world that highlights the brutality of American racism and inequality. In this series, Walker has taken enlarged pages from an anthology of Harpers Magazine illustrations done during Civil War. Atop these illustrations she lays down her overtly stereotypical silhouettes that challenge the history that was being illustrated at the time.