Human PANTONE portrait series not just black & white
A Brazilian artist has created a portrait series that applies the PANTONE colour-matching system to people’s skin, with the aim of questioning the practice of stereotyping based on colour.
The Humanae photographic series, conceived and executed by Brazilian photographer and designer Angelica Dass, features dozens of portraits in which the background colour is dyed with the exact PANTONE tone captured from the skin on a section of the subject’s face along with the corresponding PANTONE colour match number.
Dass, whose own face is also depicted in the series (pictured*) along with the PANTONE colour match number, 7522C, describes the work as a ‘chromatic inventory’ that reflects on skin colour outside of the ‘borders of our codes by referencing the PANTONE colour scheme.’
According to US writer, Jordan Kushins, who investigated Dass’ work for online publication, Co.design, the work was inspired by the complexity that existed within Dass’ own family tree. Dass is quoted in the article as saying that she is “the grand-daughter of a ‘black’ immigrant from Cabo Verde and a ‘native’ Brazilian, and the daughter of ‘black’ father adopted by a ‘white’ family.”
Kushins observes that reducing diverse heritage in this way, to its most basic colour tones, can work as a disservice to those respective heritages. As a response, Dass wanted to examine the ‘true colours’ intrinsic in varying heritage diversity.
Spain-based Dass says that the range of contrasts in the skin colours throughout the series highlights how our environment interferes with our colour. “It’s something that can change during the seasons, or vary on different areas of our body,” says Dass in Co.design.
The point behind this perspective is that, no matter how highly specialised the colour classification ascribed to the subjects, each person could have an infinite number of tones based on where the a tone sample is taken from – a penetrating comment on racial stereotyping.
*All pictures by Angelica Dass, as featured on the Humanae website