Skip to content

Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is open. We are observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Read the latest visit information, including hours

Process diary

Mer Kalo

Wyndham College

Artwork title
The brown paper bag test
HSC year
2018
ARTEXPRESS year
2019
Expressive form
Photomedia
Artist’s statement

‘The brown paper bag test’ was a form of racial discrimination used in the 20th century by social institutions such as universities, colleges and places of education, fraternities, night clubs and churches frequented by many African-Americans. It compared an individual’s skin tone to the colour of a brown paper bag. Only those with a skin colour that matched or was lighter than a brown paper bag were allowed admission, participation or membership privileges. The test has more recently been used to reference larger issues of class and social stratifications within the African-American population.

Influencing artists:
Faith Ringgold