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a historic journey

"If Kara Walker told this story she'd emphasize the idea that freedom is something that is wrenched from the hands of oppressors."

- Imani Lateef

Curator: Imani Lateef

2003.33 (Kara Walker)

Kara Walker (American, born 1969), Freedom: A Fable. A Curious Interpretation of the Wit of a Negress in Troubled Times, 1997, Book with original paper designs: laser-cut black paper silhouettes, folded as pop-up elements; letterpress text, Book (closed): 9 7/16 x 8 3/8 x 7/8 in. (23.9 x 21.3 x 2.3 cm), Toledo Museum of Art (Toledo, Ohio), Gift of David W. Steadman in honor of the Peter Norton Family, 2003.33. ©2021 Kara Walker

Think of a word that connects each of your pieces together.
Dark Fantasy

How do you feel connected to these images, to the artist?
I'm not sure if I'm connected to these images. I'm in AWE of the work. Horrified and at times disgusted. I'm afraid if I were to be truly connected and immersed in this work I'd lose myself. I'd be infected. Like making a "connection" with a ZOMBIE. Like making a "connection" with Fentanyl. So I admire Kara Walker's work at a distance.

About the Curator: Imani Lateef

Imani Lateef is an award-winning graphic designer and cartoonist. Imani created Joon Bug’s World, a comic book workshop that helps creative kids Learn the basics of comic book storytelling. He has facilitated comic book workshops across Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan.

About the Artist: Kara Walker

Kara Walker was born in Stockton, California, in 1969. She received a BFA from the Atlanta College of Art in 1991, and an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1994. The artist is best known for exploring the raw intersection of race, gender, and sexuality through her iconic, silhouetted figures. Walker unleashes the traditionally proper Victorian medium of the silhouette directly onto the walls of the gallery, creating a theatrical space in which her unruly cut-paper characters fornicate and inflict violence on one another. With one foot in the historical realism of slavery and the other in the fantastical space of the romance novel, Walker’s nightmarish fictions simultaneously seduce and implicate the audience. From:

About TBAC

The Toledo Black Artist Coalition’s mission is centered around creating avenues of artistic agency through advocacy, education, and activism. Throughout history, the African American perspective in the arts has been omitted, leaving a void within many mainstream cultural institutions. In reality, Toledo, Ohio has a rich legacy of African American artists who formed collectives to provide resources and education within the greater community. The Toledo Black Artists Coalition is a new wave formed within the context of the current national and international movement to heal a nation traumatized by the effects of white supremacy embedded within every facet of society. It is our ongoing goal to create pathways for artists of color and combat racial inequality as it continues to manifest within and in relation to Toledo institutions of culture.

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About TMA

Since its founding in 1901, the Toledo Museum of Art has earned a global reputation for the quality of our collection, our innovative and extensive education programs, and our architecturally significant campus. Thanks to the benevolence of its founders, as well as the continued support of its members, TMA remains a privately endowed, non-profit institution and opens its collection to the public, free of charge. Our mission is to integrate art into the lives of people, and we are accountable to ourselves and to our community that each action TMA takes reflects our four core values of Diversity, Community, Innovation, and Trust.