“How do you creatively and truthfully portray a significant person, group, place, idea, or issue in the community?”

~Introduction and Reflection~

Starting with the process of examining other documentaries, learning how to organize documentary papers, and then coming up with a topic to explore, I practiced examining a subject from all sides to demonstrate knowledge on that subject through the stories of others, and through effective photos and digital art put together in magazine format. We were asked to portray an interesting person, group, place, idea, or issue, accumulating primary and secondary research sources that we would then use to gain a new perspective and unique view on our subject’s importance in the world. For me this research-based paper from English served as the base for the magazine article I created using the paper in Design. This unit emphasizes narrative-style journalism and through the use of Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign I was able to combine that narrative aspect with visual art to create more impact with my words.

My specific documentary project was on the present issue of colorism, a societal present in many countries across the world. It is an issue near and dear to my heart as it is something that I have personally struggled with my entire life. As a child I was never aware that my darkness was a negative mainly because I was raised in a household where both my parents were dark, and my parents friends were all mostly dark therefore most of my friends were darker. It was never brought to my attention as something I should be self-conscious of, until a boy in my eighth grade class said to his friends that he didn’t want to go to the dance with me because I was too dark. He was of South Asian decent just as I am, so the comment confused me and left me in with much less self-confidence and a new insecurity that has stayed with me to this day. Being darker is never positive, it always has implications and in certain countries those implications are on larger scales. My focus in my documentary was to examine the implications in the countries of India and Sri Lanka. I know many people from India and have heard many stories about how colorism has formed rots there and continues to exist as huge problem. I myself am from Sri Lanka and wanted to discover through comparing interviews of someone from India versus Sri Lankan how colorism differed in these two countries.

Finishing this project, I feel grateful that I was able to give voice to an issue that is so important to me and to many brown girls across the globe. I am proud of the final product and I hope the issue of colorism is given more exposure in the future so more progress can be made in countries like India that need it desperately. I valued the process of creating a magazine article and incorporating art to strengthen my message that being all shades of brown is beautiful.

The video below gives a short introduction to my project: