HYUNDAI COMMISSION: KARA WALKER — at Tate Modern

HYUNDAI COMMISSION: KARA WALKER Tate Modern
2 October 2019 – 5 April 2020 Bankside, London SE1 9TG


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.

Kara Walker Press Imagery.
Turbine Commission 2019. Tate Modern. Kara Walker, ‘Fons Americanus’, Tate Modern 2019. Photo: © Tate​ (Matt Greenwood)

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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via press release, Tate Modern, London
Featured Image: Kara Walker, ‘Fons Americanus’, Tate Modern 2019. Photo: © Tate​ (Matt Greenwood)