when you walk in the smell hits you. the air seems thick with sugar, and i had an urge to stick my tongue out to taste the invisible molecules. then i turned the corner and laid eyes on something magnificent. with the sun beaming down on her face, kara walker’s sculpture of an enslaved african woman almost brought me to tears. wearing a scarf on her head while posed like a sphinx with large breasts and a round behind, the woman represents both caretaker and the overly sexualized black woman. by using something sweet to represent the tortured lives of slaves working on sugar plantations, the artist puts us at the epicenter of an american paradox.
sugar triggers serotonin in the brain — the sweet substance is like a drug that can give people a physical high. however, instead of experiencing bliss, slaves lost their limbs and lives to feed the american sugar economy.