Overall Murals was honored to be part of Kara Walker’s first large-scale public sculpture project, commissioned by Creative Time. Her 75′ x 35′ “sphinx-mammy” was covered in 80 tons (160,000 lbs) of sugar, surrounded by dozens of child-sized molasses attendants, and located in the 132 year-old remains of the Domino Sugar Factory.
Our contribution to this historic piece was the installation of the 25’x20′ welcoming title: “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.”
We worked with the creative team to enhance the original concept–glossy black text on a solid, white background–by working with and blending the words directly onto the existing, long-neglected surface. This decision gave more historic weight to the words and exhibit as the final chapter of the old factory; offering visitors a meaningful and dramatic welcome as they entered the exhibit site.
New York-based Kara Walker is best known for cut-paper silhouettes and tableaus that complicate traditional narratives of power and repression. Walker’s provocative work, which has taken the form of drawing, painting, text-based work, video, film, performance, and cyclorama, retells historic moments, such as slavery in the Antebellum South and Hurricane Katrina, and has frequently been the subject of controversy. She has received numerous awards, perhaps most notably in 1997, when she was the second-youngest person ever to receive a MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant”.