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KARA WALKER at Tate Modern – Hyundai Commission

Bankside, London SE1 9TG

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On until 5th April 2020

Turbine Commission 2019. Tate Modern.

Acclaimed artist Kara Walker presents one of the most ambitious Hyundai Commissions to date

Fons Americanus is a 13-metre tall working fountain inspired by the Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace, London.

Rather than a celebration of the British Empire, Walker’s fountain explores the interconnected histories of Africa, America and Europe. She uses water as a key theme, referring to the transatlantic slave trade and the ambitions, fates and tragedies of people from these three continents. Fantasy, fact and fiction meet at an epic scale.

This commission has been made using an environmentally-conscious production process and has been built from recyclable or reusable cork, wood and metal. The surface covering is made from a non-toxic acrylic and cement composite that can be used for sculpting or casting. It avoids the use of large quantities of non-recyclable materials and harmful substances often found in the production of exhibitions and installations.

Based in New York, Kara Walker is acclaimed for her candid explorations of race, sexuality and violence. She is best known for her use of black cut-paper silhouetted figures, referencing the history of slavery and the antebellum South in the US through provocative and elaborate installations.


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