Lori Crawford stand with her "Sugar on the Floor" painting which was inspired by an Etta James song.
Delaware State University’s Arts Center/Gallery is currently exhibiting the show “Paper Bags, Photographs & Paintings of Lori Crawford” from Feb 20 to March 23.
The artist and her exhibition will be honored in reception from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22 in the Arts Center/Gallery located inside the main 1st floor entrance of the William C. Jason Library on campus.
The reception and the run of the exhibition are free and open to the public.
Lori Crawford is a DSU associate professor of art who has been at the University since 1996. She said her current exhibition represents the synthesis of art appreciation, music appreciation and social exploration. Paintings, photographs or digital portraits are but a few creative processes in which she used to become energized and pacified in producing this signature collection of works.
Ms. Crawford’s work with paper bags began in graduate school and attempts to shock or shed light on the absurdity of a decades old practice within the Black community that implemented the “Brown Paper Bag Test,” which involved comparing ones’ skin color to that of a paper bag.
“If ones’ complexion was the same or lighter than the bag then one ‘passed the test’,” Ms. Crawford said. “But if the opposite was so, then one failed and did not gain entrance into that organization, church, school or any other designated function.”
Lori Crawford's 28-piece exhibition includes "paper-bag" portraits.
She said although this test is no longer used, skin color biases and many other intra-racial biases still plague the world today. The Brown Paper Bag work asks each of us what are “bag issues are,” she added.
In addition to teaching art at DSU, Ms. Crawford currently serves as an member of the Delaware State Arts Council, to which was appointed by Gov. Jack Markell in 2010.
The Arts Center Gallery is open from 9 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.