Karen Collins
12 Images

American history told through shadow boxes

Karen Collins tells others about the death of Michael Jackson through this shadow box.  (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
Karen Collins tells about history, particularly about African-American history, through the shadow boxes she makes in her South Central home. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
Jazz and blues singer Barbara Morrison is portrayed in this shadow box by Karen Collins. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
Karen Collins uses toilet paper, bottle caps, scraps of wood and tiny dolls she fashions out of clay in her shadow boxes, such as this one called “A History of Black America.” (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
“Praying Hands at the Missionary Baptist Church,” featuring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is the theme of this shadow box by Karen Collins.  (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
“Terror by Night,” a shadow box by Karen Collins, tells about the presence of the Ku Klux Klan in black culture.  (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American actress to win an Academy Award, is shown in this shadow box by Karen Collins.  (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
Karen Collins has spent the last 20 years creating the African American Miniature Museum, a traveling exhibit of intricate shadow boxes that takes you back, one scene at a time, to the days of slavery, civil rights marches, to President Obama’s inauguration. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
“Eyes on the Box,” a shadow box by Karen Collins, depicts Jim Crow laws. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
Muhammad Ali is portrayed in this shadow box by Karen Collins.  (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
Thurgood Marshall, the Supreme Court’s first African-American justice, is depicted in this shadow box by Karen Collins.  (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
Karen Collins is photographed in her South Los Angeles home, where she creates shadow boxes that tell history through art. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
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