This assignment relates to the attached article, “Toni Morrison and Kara Walker: The Interaction of Their Imaginations”.
From the 2 sets of questions below, please respond to a total of 3 of your choosing, using at least 1 from each set. Thank you!
1. Miyamoto quotes Gwendolyn Dubois Shaw to describe the connection between Walker’s art and Morrison’s “rememories”; there is a “‘shadowy fantasy of Morrisonian rememories [in Walker’s silhouettes].'” When we read Beloved all those weeks ago, how did you visualize Sethe’s rememory? Does Shaw’s connection match with what you imagined? Does it fit better, or worse?
2. Why do you think Walker doesn’t pair words or passages with her artwork? Her titles are often long, we know from last week’s reading of Keizer that she has used the written word in her art before (Letter from a Black Girl), and she has been heavily influenced by who I would argue is one of the most remarkable black American novelists of the last 50 years. Why not use words more?
3. Can the argument be made that just as some critics view Walker’s art as a parody of the antebellum South, our modern understanding of the period, and slavery as a whole, it is also in part a parody of Morrison’s works (Beloved, and Paradise and Jazz, if you’ve read/heard of them)?
4. Both Morrison and Walker have children. How do you think that informs their creative worlds? Does it do so in the same way for each of them? (How does this tie into Walker’s sexually coded artwork? How about the stereotype of “mammy?”)
5. How are Morrison and Walker’s use of names similar or not? Think of Miyamoto’s reference to Morrison’s Jazz in the second section.
1. Walker’s use of the silhouette medium is subversive in that it challenges its historical linkage to racism and American slavery, while also referencing its historical use as a “ladies art” in the American South. What is a specific example of this “ladies art” (in general and in one of the texts we had read)?
2. There are multiple ways that Toni Morrison had influence on Kara Walker’s work, this is recognized by both of them. Specifically with motherhood and children, this theme plays a role in both their works, especially the idea of infantcide. Why would both artists choose to use these graphic images in their work? Is it painful for the reader to think about it? Is that the point?
3. Kara Walker and Toni Morrison both had an impact on the world of racism seperately, but they also had an impact together. Would there be a Kara Walker without Toni Morrison? Does their message get across better together? Some people argue Walker reworks Morrison’s ideas into her work, is this bad?
4. Both Walker and Morrison challenge antique myths in their works about the past of the south and living in the south as a black person. Why is it important that they do this?
5. Through their respective mediums of literature and visual art, Morrison and Walker challenge societal norms and expectations of black women additionally. As a female artist, especially black female artist, it is important to understand the history of their ancestors. Why is the understanding of gender important for understanding racism? Why is it important to understand other things as well, like gender roles, classes, society, why is this all important for understanding racism?
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