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Between and Mortarboard

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22 Items in this Learning Collection
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Resource with 3 media
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Accession Number


Kara Walker

Artist Nationality
American (North American)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
print on porcelain

8 1/4 in x 7 1/2 in (20.96 cm x 19.05 cm)

Credit Line
Museum Purchase

Subject matter
This limited edition pitcher was created with the French porcelain manufacturer Bernardaud in conjunction with Walker's 2014 installation, titled “A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby,” held at the former Domino Sugar factory in Brooklyn, NY. The exhibit was a tribute to the slaves involved in the sugar trade in the Americas and the silhouette on the pitcher resembles the woman/sphinx at the center of the 2014 installation. Walker is best known for her controversial large-scale black silhouette cut-outs that deal directly with African American history in the Antebelleum South. This pitcher is a prime example of the type of imagery and aesthetics used by Walker. Contributing to current dialogues on the representation of Black identities, her work speaks to the way that the intersectionality of race, gender, class, and sexuality operates in the context of America.

Unlike generations of Black artists before her, Walker operates as a "post-black" artist, which affords her the opportunity to address racism and sexism in perhaps an irreverent way. Like this work, her subjects are parodies of historic one-dimensional racist narratives about primitive Africa, Black beasts, and Black women's sexual prowess. She frequently (re)uses stereotypical forms of Black bodies, including the mammy archetype as she does in this work. Walker's use of silhouettes is significant and ironic; she juxtaposes traditional Victorian silhouettes with depictions of violence, hyper-sexuality, and racism.

Physical Description
White glazed porcelain pitcher with two different black silhouette faces in profile, one on each side.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type

Collection Area
Modern and Contemporary

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
Saccharum (genus)
civil wars
pitchers (vessels)
racial discrimination
sugarcane (material)
women (female humans)

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved