When I moved to Connecticut in 2017, I learned that the walls of our home were painted with Patriot White and Opulence White. Looking for alternate whites, I stumbled across a paint color called Colonial White. I was stunned. I grew up in France, which has a continuous history of colonization and where the word colonial is used to represent that oppression and supremacy. But in the US and especially in New England, the word colonial has become ubiquitous. And I wondered how can the word colonial be reduced to an architectural style? But then looking at it again, I thought that the paint chip Colonial White is actually making visible the reality of America and its history.
By asking participants to visually merge the Colonial White paint chip with a place/object/situation that embodies colonial white to them, I am hoping to reframe the term colonial in its historical and present context amid a collective reflection and conversation about structural racism.