Design and Violence

HUMANAE

Angélica Dass, 2012

Race and skin colour

For this ongoing project, the artist is building a photographic archive of portraits classified by the specific colour of the participant’s skin according to the ubiquitous PANTONE® colour chart used by designers. Volunteers are not previously selected, and there is no other classification relating to nationality, gender, age, race, social class or religion. The artist was prompted in this exploration by her experience growing up in Brazil delighting in her family’s broad mix of skin tones, but encountering the negative assumptions made about her class or status according to her dark skin. The project attempts to ‘flatten out’ skin colour to be just that — an objective quality of the skin — and to subvert the intention of past human taxonomies associated with colonial and anthropological studies. Classification of humans is often associated with violence or social control, but here, through applying the same lens to a vast range of people with the intention of uniting rather than dividing, a ‘colossal global mosaic’ is developed.