Kara Walker

Who Is Kara Walker?

Kara Walker is a modern American artist born on November 26, 1969 who is well-known for her inventive use of black paper silhouettes, focuses on the historical effects of slavery while examining issues of race, gender, and power relations. Her works are thought-provoking and challenging, delving into the nuances of racial identity and providing a critical viewpoint on American history.

Kara Walker
Photo: Creative Time/Celeblifegraphy

Early Life And Education

Kara Walker was born in Stockton, California, on November 26, 1969, and she knew she wanted to be an artist since she was a little child. After attending Atlanta College of Art, she graduated in 1991 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design with a focus on painting and printmaking. She pursued graduate-level education, graduating from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1994 with a Master of Fine Arts degree.

Career Success

When Walker’s artwork was included in a new-talent exhibition at the Drawing Centre in New York in 1994, her career really took off. Her black-paper silhouette figures on a white wall piece attracted notice right away for its potent depiction of racism and race. Walker’s artwork has since been shown at galleries and museums across the world, such as the Walker Art Museum in Minneapolis, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Tate Liverpool in England, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Awards And Recognition

For her contributions to the arts, Artist Kara Walker has won various honors, including a MacArthur Fellowship in 1997. Walker has also been recognized and awarded multiple times for her contributions to the art world. She was included on the esteemed TIME 100 list in 2007, and her works of art never cease to challenge and elicit conversations about identity, history, and race.

Controversy And Criticism

Apart from receiving praise, Walker’s creations have also caused controversy. There were attempts to arrange a boycott of her art after some critics charged that she was employing stereotypes of black people in her works. After receiving complaints, one of her drawings from the Newark Library in New Jersey in December 2012 was eventually taken down and put on display. It showed a white man putting the naked Black woman’s head to his groyne.


She wed Klaus Burgel in 1996, and the two had Octavia, a daughter.

Multimedia Approach

American Painter Walker has experimented with a variety of media in addition to silhouettes, such as painting, sketching, and video installations. She can interact with her themes in a variety of ways because of her multimedia approach.

Teaching Career

Kara Walker has taught at several universities, such as Columbia University, Rutgers University, and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), imparting her wisdom to up-and-coming artists. In 2015, Walker began a five-year term in Visual Arts at Rutgers’ Mason Gross School of the Arts.

Interesting Facts

  • Article Title: Kara Walker Biography
  • Full Name: Kara Walker
  • Birth Year: 1969
  • Birth Date: November 26, 1969
  • Birth State: California
  • Birth City: Stockton
  • Birth Country: United States
  • Spouse: Klaus Bürgel (m. 1996–2010)
  • Award: MacArthur Fellowship
  • Children: Octavia Bürgel
  • Gender: Female
  • Net Worth(2024): $5 Million
  • Industries: Art
  • Schools: Atlanta College of Art
  • Author: Celeblifegraphy.com Editors

Quotes By Kara Walker

  • To be a truly conscientious artist, you have to look at what’s not working and challenge it. You riff on things.
  • I really love to make sweeping historical gestures that are like little illustrations of novels.
  • I’m a sponge for historical images of black people and black history on film.