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In Darkytown Rebellion (2001), Afro-American artist Kara Walker (1969) displays a group of silhouettes on the walls, projecting the viewer, through his own shadow, into the midst of the scene. For many years, Walker has been tackling, in her work, the history of black people from the southern states before the abolition of slavery, while placing them in a more contemporary perspective. Using the slightly outdated technique of the silhouette, she cuts out lifted scenes with startling contents: violence and sexual obscenities are skillfully and minutely presented. The outrageousness and crudeness of her narrations denounce these racist and sexual clichés while deflecting certain allusions to bourgeois culture, like a character from Slovenly Peter or Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix. The spatialisation through colour accentuates the terrifying aspect of this little theatre of cruelty which is Darkytown Rebellion.


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