Picture preview: Leah Gordon portraits of Caste
Thursday 07 June 2012
Photographer and artist Leah Gordon explores the practice in Haiti of grading skin colour from black to white, referred to as Caste, in a series of new photographs.
The system, which revealed the extent of racial mixing in 18th century colonial Haiti, moves through black to white in nine degrees. It was developed by a French colonist, Moreau de St Mery, living in the Caribbean country during slavery, and reveals the horrifying - and cod scientific- racism of the time.
Mery classified the nine degrees of colour, from pure black to 1/8 white and 7/8 black. The terminology he chose was borrowed from mythology and is offensively bestial: Sacatra, Griffe, Marabou, Mulatre, Mamelouque, Quarteronne and Sang-mele to White.
Gordon was inspired by these strange racial classifications to make photographic portraits (in black and white) of the nine skin varieties. She positions herself at one end of the scale as the 'Blanche' and her partner, the Haitian sculptor Andre Eugene, at the other end.
Leah Gordon: Caste is at Riflemaker, London from 11 June to 14 July 2012, www.riflemaker.org
TV reviewGrace Dent: Jimmy McGovern's new drama sheds light on sex slavery in the colonies
Eurovision 2015Australian Idol winner unveiled as representative Down Under
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Autism 'caused by genetics', study suggests
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Why you should never make assumptions about people with autism
- 4 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Fifty Shades of Grey banned by Indian censors despite sex scenes being edited out
The 9 rules every Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoon had to follow are wonderfully pedantic
India's Daughter: BBC Four documentary provokes outrage on Twitter
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
The world's most beautiful libraries: Introducing Franck Bohbot's House of Books project
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'