Absence and Representation: Pantone Matching Project, Art Fair Suomi, Helsinki, Finland, 2015


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The title Absence and Representation: Pantone Matching Project is a working title as this project is a work in progress. Rah started this work as a solo performance “NW25” (Neutral Warm 25) for Process 9 at Artscape Youngplace in Toronto. Rah aims to complete this performance in Toronto and find female collaborators to represent all 110 skin tones.

The performance involved having women stand in the Cable Factory for one hour. Each woman had the numerical code based on the Pantone Color System that best corresponded with the colour of their skin. This numerical code was then drawn on the stomachs of each woman. Rah stood in front of the stage and yelled a series of numerical codes. Once their code was yelled, each woman would acknowledge their code by yelling back and if there was silence, that represented absence. Due to the limitation of the two week residency, Rah was unable to find collaborators for all 110 skin tones. Their was only one person of color, therefore, Rah strategically altered the performance to acknowledge the lack of diversity and representation.

An important aspect of  this performance is that it responds to the refugee crisis in Europe. It addresses the racism that is prevalent in society and the absence of cultural and ethnic diversity.

Using an intersectional approach and considering shadism, the women were lined up from darkest skin tone at the front to the  lightest placed at the back. Similarly, the numerical codes were acknowledged in order starting with the darkest to lightest tones.

Thank you to the collaborators:

Tanya Tynjälä 53-6:  http://www.tanyatynjala.com/

Tiina Kortelampi 92-8

Taru Aho 61-6

Amandine Doat 62-7

Lotta Halinen 43-4

Meeri Altmets 58-8

Eija Ranta  58-5:  https://eijaranta.wordpress.com/

Liisi Kilpela 75-9

Harriet Rabe 38-9

Oona Torniainen 95-9

Rah 67-5