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no world / An Unpeopled Land in Uncharted Waters

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • no world

    Title (series)

    • An Unpeopled Land in Uncharted Waters
  • Description

    A ship being carried by a pair of hands emerging from a choppy ocean apparently towards land on which two silhouetted figures can be seen standing in a plantation or cornfield. In the foreground, the silhouetted figure of a black female appears to be swimming away from the land. 2010
    Aquatint with spit-bite and drypoint on white wove Hahnemüller paper


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 2010
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 606 millimetres (plate)
    • Width: 905 millimetres
    • Height: 768 millimetres (sheet)
    • Width: 1007 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Signed and dated 'KW 2010' in pencil, lower right and numbered: P.P. III/III [Printer's Proof] lower left.
  • Curator's comments

    This print is from Kara Walker's series of six intaglio prints titled 'An Unpeopled Land in Uncharted Waters'. The series was printed by Gregory Burnet of Burnet Editions, New York in an edition of 30 expressed in Arabic numbers. The titles of the individual prints are expressed in lower case. Gregory Burnet also printed in a separate edition of 25 impressions of 'no world', which were numbered with Roman numerals. The BM's print is one of three printer's proofs outside the latter edition. The publisher was Sikkema Jenkins & Co.

    The title of this print is a pun on the phrase 'New World'. Like much of Walker's work, it deals with the history of black people in America and specifically with the experience of African slaves in the southern states. The ship is presumably a slave ship and the figures on land a plantation owner (who can be identified by his wide-brimmed hat, pipe and authoritative stance) and a black slave. The female figure in the water may be a slave who has escaped the ship or a slave who is drowning, as so many did on the perilous journey to America. Alternatively, the figure could represent the collective desire of the African slaves to return to their homeland. The scene is presented from the viewpoint of somebody in the water. As viewers, we are therefore invited to put ourselves in the position of the slaves.


  • Bibliography

    • Coppel, Daunt & Tallman 182 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (Study Room Store Framed)

  • Exhibition history

    2017 9 Mar-18 Jun, London, BM, G30, The American Dream

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Purchased with funds given by Margaret Conklin and David Sabel. Credit line to read: Presented by Margaret Conklin and David Sabel.

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


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Object reference number: PPA440673

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