A Subtlety by Kara Walker, an artist currently living in New York, may be a sculpture modelled after the ancient sphinx, but it represents slave laborers rather than the good old days of Egypt and Greece. In place of a more abstract human head, the body of this lion is topped with a towering stereotypical black face. In particular, it pays tribute to those who have worked sugar cane fields.
Made out of 160,000 pounds of bleached sugar, A Subtlety by Kara Walker is currently on display at the old Domino sugar factory shed in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. A powerful work meant to address racial and sexual exploitation, Beautiful Decay writes, "This black female figure has been pressured, against nature, into succumbing to whiteness." The sphinx represents treachery and mercilessness after all.