installation view

Mackenzie Art Gallery: Conceptions of White

Curated by Lillian O’Brien and John G. Hampton

“An Exhibition that examines the myths and meanings behind the idea of a “white race” –a relatively recent invention that helped shape the modern world”

Conceptions of White is an exhibition offering context and a nuanced perspectives that help viewers grapple with contemporary configurations of white identity. The exhibition examines the origins, travel, and present reality of “whiteness” as a concept and a racial invention that classified degrees of civility/humanity. Select historical objects and artworks will illustrate white origin myths within their historical context, revealing whiteness as a North American, settler-colonial invention of the seventeenth century, created alongside “Blackness” and “Aboriginality.” The contemporary artists in the exhibition will complicate this historical foundation by examining how these acts of racialization are felt today through concepts of white guilt, supremacy, benevolence, fragility, and power. These artists force us to confront the ideology of cultural erasure embedded in the social construction of whiteness, the ramifications of its continually expanding borders, and the resistance facing this relatively young theory of racial categorization. Together, the diverse narratives, images, and concepts presented in Conceptions of White will examine the existential, experiential, and ethical dimensions of engaging in classifications of whiteness, while also drawing on the conceptual linkages between colonial whiteness and the aesthetic, social, and philosophical meaning we ascribe to the colour white.

Mackenzie Art Gallery
3475 Alberta St., Regina,
Saskatchewan, Canada
Aug 6 – Nov 13, 2022