The Artwork of the Month's activity and label focus on a single work in the Walker's collection and provide entertaining art experiences for young people. You can see an activity with the ArtsConnectEd image viewer or download the PDF file to your computer. Use the Prev/Next buttons to move between images of the PDF and the actual file.
About the Artwork:
New York artist Glenn Ligon incorporates many aspects of African-American culture into his artwork. He is best known for using words and images taken from a variety of sources, including classic literature, slave narratives, current political events, popular comedians’ jokes, and children’s coloring books. He sometimes stencils quotes from famous writers across the surface of his canvases.When he adds materials that make the painted words almost unreadable, as he has done here, the artist forces the viewer to take a closer look at what he has to say.
Ligon used paint, coal dust, glitter, and glue to make Stranger in the Village #16. He also included an excerpt from the essay “Stranger in the Village” by African-American writer James Baldwin. In it, the author describes his extended visit to a tiny village in Switzerland where he was the only black person. The villagers treated him more as an unusual object than a human being, so while he lived there, Baldwin felt he remained as much a stranger as when he had first arrived. He compared this experience to the condition of being a black man in his native America.