Alvin Buyinza of The Massachusetts Daily Collegian covered the 23rd Annual Du Bois Lecture: Viewing the Past Through the Eyes of the Present - A Dialogue Around the Work of Kara Walker.
The lecture was presented in partnership with the University Museum of Contemporary Art and its current exhibit Emancipating the Past: Kara Walker’s Tales of Slavery and Power (February 2 – April 30, 2017) and is co-sponsored in part by the Randolph and Cecile Bromery Endowment for the W. E. B. Du Bois Center at the UMass Amherst Libraries.
Professors of African-American history spoke on the racial, sexual and psychological violence of slavery toward black women in response to the Kara Walker art exhibit in the Commonwealth Honors College event hall on Wednesday.
The panel featured Traci Parker, assistant professor of Afro-American studies, Barbara Krauthamer, associate professor of history and Elizabeth Pryor, Smith College associate professor of history. The panel was hosted by Whitney Battle-Baptiste, associate professor of anthropology.
The panel discussed their own personal responses to individual pieces of Walker's work, ranging from "experience as a black woman as 'objectified' and 'silenced,' to "seeing Walker’s art work as 'overwhelming.'"
“I started to have a visceral reaction to Walker’s artwork,” Parker said.
Krauthamer described Walker’s work as multi-faceted, detailing the complexities of black women during slave times, and talked about how Walker’s work forces people to question if there are more horrifying narratives of slavery than what we are already told.
After the panel, members of the audience were allowed to ask questions, and were then able to purchase books from both Krauthammer and Pryor.