Kara Walker's "A Subtlety"


After hearing much praise about the Kara Walker exhibit, I had to take the trip to Williamsburg to view it for myself. Stowed away on Kent Ave, in the now abandoned Domino Sugar Factory sat Walker’s installation of a sugar-covered sphinx & miniature Artisan workers sculpted of molasses.  The largest work for Walker, has drown more than 100,000 viewers & is intended to pay homage to African-American women who were involved in the 19th-century sugar trade.

I arrived at the Domino factory at the opening time of 4pm & was met with a line that extended 3+ blocks.  After waiting about 90 minutes to enter, we were lead down a walkway towards the entrance of the factory. Upon entering, the smell of burnt sugar filled the air & covering the walls & floor was reminisce of such. Greeted by the first of many sculpted Artisan workers, I was instantly amazed by the attention to detail & how life-like each was. In the distance sat the massive sphinx, which was made entirely of sugar. Having the ability to walk up to the sculpture, you could see particles of sugar that began to add texture due to the extreme heat. With a mix of the Great Sphinx of Giza and a “mammy”, the installation initially received criticism; however, Kara Walker continues to bring awareness to racism and the exploitation of woman through art.