In a brilliantly clever and keenly insightful new art project, Brazilian artist Angelica Dass is exploring a question that whether out loud or quietly to themselves everyone has asked before: What Color Are You?
Using a rather unorthodox but methodological way, she is answering that question one hue at a time. On her website, Humanae, Angelica states: Humanae is a chromatic inventory, a project that reflects on the colors beyond the borders of our codes by referencing the PANTONE® color scheme.(PANTONE® Guides are one of the main classification systems of colors, which are represented by an alphanumeric code, allowing to accurately recreate any of them in any media. It is a technical industrial standard often called Real Color). The project development is based on a series of portraits whose background is dyed with the exact Pantone® tone extracted from a sample of 11x11 pixels of the portrayed’s face. The project’s objective is to record and catalog all possible human skin tones.
Obviously there are points of connection between her project and ours at 50 SHADES OF BLACK. Though the implications may be different, the rich spectrum and the complexity of human skin tone is present in all aspects of humanity...not just the black community. Angelica brings attention to this fact, nuances it, and (if I may add) simultaneously trivializes our preoccupation with it.
Why is color so important? Why, if it has such breadth, is it so narrowly defined...indeed only in terms of black and white? What does it mean to recognize diversity even within the "same group"?
AND once we have the answers to the magic question answered, then what?
So, ummm....WHAT COLOR ARE YOU?