A 2010 Artadia Award winner, artist Nathaniel Donnett uses brown paper bags as both the material and the message in "Black Plastic and tha Paper Bag Kids in tha Soulecistic Playground," currently on display at the Colton & Farb Gallery (formerly the Deborah Colton Gallery). Inside the African-American community, brown paper bags were once used as a litmus test for acceptable skin color. A person would hold up a paper bag to his face, and if he was darker than the bag, he was "too dark." If he was lighter than the paper bag, he was fine.
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In this collection of work, Donnett uses the bags as canvas. One drawing, Monkey Bidness: K.S., shows a dark-skinned child watching a group of adults playing on some monkey bars. Another drawing, Love the Way You Carry Your Self Luv, shows a girl holding an African sculpture as she would a doll. See Donnett's artwork 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays. Through June 26. 2445 North Boulevard. For information, call 713-869-5151 or visit www.deborahcoltongallery.com. Free.
Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Starts: June 1. Continues through June 26, 2010