She was born in Stockton, California in 1969. She lives and works in New York.
The American artist startled the art world in 1994 when, having just graduated at the Rhode Island School of Design she created around twenty large-scale paintings of black and white silhouette images representing racial stereotypes and other clichés taken from the pornographic literature of pre-Civil War South. Her silhouetted figures seem to be traced in pitch black ink, but they are actually paper cut-outs. Kara Walker draws from a particular narrative and caricature imagery, which found a wide circulation in the South during the 19th century; her works bring the viewer to reflect on how clichéd roles are assigned and how they can actually last long enough to reappear in our “politically correct” present.