artist kara walker has used something sweet to represent this country’s bitter past.
her collection of sugar and mollases sculptures, including this sphinx-like edifice of an enslaved woman, titled “a subtlety or the marvelous sugar baby an homage to the unpaid and overworked artisans who have refined our sweet tastes from the cane fields to the kitchens of the new world on the occasion of the demolition of the domino sugar refining plant,” are on display in the old domino sugar plant in brooklyn.
kara is known for creating images that are built on the historical themes of race, gender and slavery. a subtlety is in line with her previous work, as it explores the africans who were forced into slavery to harvest sugar cane throughout the caribbean. “basically it was blood sugar,” she tells npr, “like we talk about blood diamonds today, there were pamphlets saying this sugar has blood on its hands.”
the exhibit ends july 6th, but hurry — the molasses sculptures are disintegrating, the artist’s intention to represent the slaves who lost their lives and limbs in the sugar cane fields.