Archive for August 5th, 2008

August 5, 2008

"Skin-coloured"

In primary school, where everyone in my class came in a different shade of brown, we unanimously referred to the peach coloured crayon in our boxes of oil pastels (we all had the same set, sold by the school stationery shop) as “skin-colour”.

I brought this up in a recent discussion on what colour tones are presented to Indian children as “normal” for skin. A friend (who I cannot link to because he doesn’t blog) reminded me that in our primary school textbooks, Indian historical figures were all generally presented as light brown. Thene linked me to this article, which talks about badly named crayon colours. Then there’re the skin colour issues in Amar Chitra Katha (I’d like to do a post on this in the future, but research is needed. or now, this looks interesting) and so on.

This is all ramblage. Why I’m really posting is to alert you to this project, which looks like it could be really interesting:


Skin Coloured is intended to be a collaborative, visual exploration of what it is to be non-white in a white culture. Make-up, plasters and tights – even when they’re marked “flesh-coloured” – are not the colour of skin that isn’t white. And whilst white women may have trouble matching these items to their skin, for women who don’t class themselves as white, this inconvenience is symptomatic of a wider problem.

To help illustrate this problem, therefore, Skin Coloured is looking for submissions. Send us photographs that illustrate the inadequacy of provisions for non-white people, and we’ll post them on the blog, and hopefully both those submitting, and those who’re here to learn, will gain something from it.

Further information can be found here. Please help us by reposting this.

So go over there, have a look, and contribute to it if you can.