Remembering to Remember

“The Slave Ship” or “Slavers Throwing overboard the Dead and Dying — Typhon coming on”

On view until September 21st at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a collection of J.M.W. Turner’s picturesque paintings of the harrowing sea as well as some ships and their respective passengers. Turner is not a contemporary artist. He has long vanished under the sea, the rifts and wails of his sailors and mates heard long ago, and is now remembered by the violent paint strokes that so eloquently make up the rhythmic intensity beating within his canvases.

After Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, one might recall Kara Walker’s (Season 2) After the Deluge, an exhibition of work that she organized featuring a variety of objects from the Met’s collection (including Turner’s infamous Slave Ship.)

Years apart in age and emerging out of different historical contexts, both artists are fascinated by the world around them and in turn have sought to explore these curiosities with the realization that the representation of a time that may seem uncertain can often produce artworks of incredible passion.

Watch Walker discussing the question of one’s role in history in relationship to an installation that she made as an artist-in-residence at the Fabric Workshop in 2004.

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