Cyprus Mail
What's On

Shadow puppets bring racism to the fore

Addressing issues of racial discrimination, gender inequality and sexuality, a different kind of exhibition is set to take place in Limassol next week centred on Kara Walker’s 17-minute shadow puppet video.

Titled Fall Frum Grace, Miss Pipi’s Blue Tale and created in 2011, the short film is set in the plantation fields of the Antebellum South and follows Southern belle Miss Pipi and her intimate encounters with a black slave which come to a violent end after they are uncovered by a young white boy.

The video revisits the historical context of Jim Crow laws during which countless murders of black men took place on the grounds of “the mythology surrounding white Southern womanhood, historically cited time and time again as an entity to be protected from sexuality, in particular from the presumed hyper-sexuality of black men,” Kara explained in her book Dust Jackets for the Niggerati.

Shifting from Delta Blues to 70s groove and ambient noise, the soundtrack of the video adds to a com-plex narrative structure bringing in fantasy and nightmare, desire and death, transgression and des-pair.
As Kris Cohen wrote in a review of the short film, “what the film offers is not answers or tactics, and not even recognisable questions, but affects induced by a kind of unflinching decision not to sanitise a single thing, neither in her own racial-historical consciousness, nor in what she imagines to be the world’s.”

Since the 1990s Kara Walker has developed a multifaceted body of work comprising drawings, paint-ings, coloured light projections, shadow puppetry, sculpture and writing. Using incisive and unsettling imagery, Walker confronts and challenges the dominant positions in the portrayal of slavery in Ameri-ca. By scrutinising racial discrimination, gender inequality, violence, and subjugation, her work brings forth the cracks within current representations of Blackness and the state of racial consciousness in the United States and beyond.

Kara’s exhibition certainly adds a different tone to Limassol’s cultural agenda. On until January 26, curi-ous art lovers will have plenty of time to catch the artist’s video.

The opening at The Island Club will coincide with two more openings: Air Air presenting works by Mari-na Xenofontos and Christos Kyriakides, happening below the memorial in Heroes Square and Garden Sculptures, a solo exhibition by Phanos Kyriacou at Eins Gallery.

Fall Frum Grace, Miss Pipi’s Blue Tale
Solo exhibition of Kara Walker’s shadow puppet video. Opening December 15. December 18-January 26. The Island Club, Limassol. Tuesday – Saturday: 11am – 6pm. Tel: 25-252010