"Mistress Demanded a Swift and Dramatic Empathetic Reaction Which We Obliged Her" (2000)

"Mistress Demanded a Swift and Dramatic Empathetic Reaction Which We Obliged Her," 2000
Projection, cut paper and adhesive on wall, 12 x 17 feet
Collection of Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Courtesy Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

"One of the things that's happened here with the work that I've done is that because it mimics narrative, and narrative is a kind of given when it comes to work produced by black women in this country, there's almost an expectation of something cohesive...a kind of 'Color Purple' scenario where things resolve in a certain way. A female heroine actualizes through a process of self-discovery and historical discovery and comes out from under her oppressors and maybe doesn't become a hero but is a hero for herself. And nothing ever comes of that in the pieces that I'm making."

- Kara Walker