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Colonial White

Great Force Participatory Project

Apr 6, 2019 – Sep 9, 2019

For several months in 2019, the ICA invited Virginia locals to identify symbols of white-centered ideologies in their own lives. At the center of the project is a sample of the paint color “Colonial White” that Charlotte Lagarde reproduces and distributes en masse. The prompt written on the reverse of each card asks community members to submit a photograph in which the paint card appears in the foreground and a situation or object embodying coloniality and whiteness appears in the background. The white card held by each participant not only serves to draw attention to structural racism, but also asks us to consider our position within that structure. This collaboration between artist, institution, and community members invites all of us to imagine how colonialism continues to impact our relationship to people, places, and things

Lagarde realized earlier versions of this project in other states. For this new iteration, submissions captured nuanced interpretations of white-centered dominance across Virginia. From beauty products to monuments, the submissions address white beauty ideals, religion, gentrification, education, and business. They also track a Richmond landscape in which histories of colonialism are reflected not only in monuments, but also in mundane everyday examples of the force of white privilege. 400 years after the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to Virginia, this project reckons with the persistence of white cultural and economic dominance embedded in our contemporary landscape. 

This project is ongoing and we encourage visitors to visit the ICA to collect a paint card.