Former Atlantan Kara Walker, whose silhouette, cut-paper images of the Old South, race and perversity made her an international superstar, has a new show in a London gallery that targets her old stomping grounds.
Called "Go to Hell or Atlanta, Whichever Comes First," the show, opening Thursday, Oct. 1, at the Victoria Miro gallery, focuses on the Confederate imagery carved into Stone Mountain.
Walker moved with her family from California to Atlanta when she was 13 years old, a transition that she found disturbing. She settled in the city of Stone Mountain, in the shadow of the monolith and all the Civil War and Klan associations that it brings.
She told Tim Adams of London's The Guardian that the new show at Miro was prompted by conversations that arose after the shootings of the nine African-American churchgoers in Charleston, S.C. She and a friend began discussing the Confederate symbolism in her old hometown.
Walker told her London interviewer that she has never shown her work in Atlanta or elsewhere in the South, and suggested that the sex and violence in her images have made her unwelcome in the Bible Belt.
But commenters on the story pointed out that Walker has shown at Nexus Contemporary Art Center, the High Museum, Spelman College and in Arkansas and Texas.
Some of her work is part of the High Museum's permanent collection. "She's fearless, " Carol Thompson, the High Museum's curator for African art, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2007.