Paper Bag Test - Grand Rapids

IlaSahai Prouty's avatar IlaSahai Prouty

Paper Bag Test is an interactive installation that invites the public to define and reclaim skin tones and color as associated with race. The original Paper Bag Test, was (and unfortunately still is) used to segregate black folks into two categories. Those lighter than a paper bag are welcomed into certain clubs, parties and acting roles, while those darker are sorted into others. This site-specific installation will consist of 20-30 paper bags that have been opened flat and coated with colors that reference skin tones. Each bag is stamped with a label at the top. The labels touch upon a range of experiences, for example: Nude, Bamboo, Fair, Redneck, Redskin, Bandaid, Yellow, White, Ebony, Spice. They are derived from foundation colors, slurs, foods, jokes, and historical contexts. The public is invited to write reactions, comments and stories on the bags. They are also invited to post photographs under #paperbagtest.

Entry Details
  • Art form: Installation
  • Depth:
  • Medium: Screenprinted Paper Bags
  • Width: variable (17
  • Year created: 2016
  • Height: 40"