Kimberly Walker

Art Academy of Cincinnati

I am a retired, female, Army Combat Veteran who now claims my voice as a feminist artist. I create work rooted deeply in meaning and purpose—that of an investigation into the experience of being a woman in the military. I build a dialogue with myself and bring the viewer in by revealing themes of sexual assault, betrayal, loyalty, sacrifice, suicide, and violence against the American female service member. My work addresses gender politics, systemic sexism, and the objectification of women in a male dominated institution and the outside world. Through painting, sculpture, installation, video, and performance art, I deconstruct the emotional, physical, psychological, and sexual lives of the female Soldier. These varied and diverse contexts of the work have an impact on its relationship to the viewer. I intentionally utilize elements from the American flag revealing its dichotomous responsibility to protect and, in my experience, to obscure. I juxtapose stereotypical masculine elements like hardware, wood, metal, plaster, camouflage fabric, and torn, destroyed materials combined with shades of pink and vulnerable, gestural strokes of paint. I capture the essence of the feminine, and use delicate, domestic cheesecloth as a sort of death shroud. I am interested in the intersection of art, war, and feminism. One out of four women who enlist in the US military will be sexually assaulted or raped. Some have even been murdered by a brother in arms. In this sociopolitical climate, now is the pivotal moment to create this type of art. Women in the arts face devaluing and underrepresentation and female Soldiers face even worse marginalization. With the proliferation of #metoo and #sayhername, now is the time to talk about military sexual assault, suicide and violence against women.
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