Imposter: An Installation of Discrimination & Oral History

Aggregate Space Gallery, Oakland, CA

Curated by Shaghayegh Cyrous

"The Brown Paper Bag test, established in the early 1900s, was used to segregate People of Color in the United States until the 1970s. If someone’s skin color was lighter than the paper bag, they were admitted into white spaces. When People of Color are born with lighter complexions, a frequent occurrence, they access certain privileges associated with “passing” as white. Artist Alicia McDaniel’s grandmother attempted to pass herself off as white by rejecting her Latino/Indigenous identity, customs, language and bleaching her skin daily.


“Imposter” references how McDaniel felt within her communities as a white-passing Person of Color and is a nod to the Imposter Syndrome where she has felt that her accomplishments were achieved because of her appearance/skin color. This emanative exhibition originates within McDaniel’s and her family's’ different experiences with racial profiling, skin privilege, and assimilation. She utilizes materials that reference systematic forms of oppression such as the Brown Paper Bag Test as a point of departure for contemporary instances of colorism and racism that still exist."

Special Programming for Imposter: There are three public events for this exhibition - gallery hours 1-5 pm and by appointment. We combine efforts with major happenings in Oakland to make it easier for our community and viewers by ensuring that our exhibition openings coincide with the monthly, city-wide events, including a First Friday opening and a Second Saturday artist talk.


Exhibition Schedule: Friday, November 16 - Saturday, December 22, 2018

Public Opening Reception: Friday, November 16, 2018, 6pm – 10pm

First Friday Event: Friday, December 7, 2018, 5 pm – 8 pm

Second Saturday Artist Talk: Saturday, December 8, 2018, 11 am – 1 pm

Aggregate Space Gallery(ASG)

ASG envisions an Oakland where artists can make and experience art in a safe space with access to production tools and hands-on guidance, creating work that fuels critical dialogue in a time when it is desperately needed. ASG is a charitable, artist-run exhibition and performance space in West Oakland that prioritizes the exhibition of artwork that generally can’t be seen elsewhere – our mantra is “Install the Unimaginable.” We provide extensive in-house resources and expertise that enable artists to create and promote intellectually engaging and immersive projects. We also strive to provide every artwork installed in ASG with a museum-quality environment; our exhibition space is impressive and meticulously maintained.


Foundational Support:

Aggregate Space Gallery programs are generously supported by Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Creative Work Fund (Walter & Elise Haas Fund and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation), Kenneth Rainin Foundation, Zellerbach Family Foundation, Clorox Foundation, Awesome Foundation, and ArtNow International.


Address: 801 W Grand Ave Oakland, CA 94607

Gallery hours: Gallery admission is free. Open Fridays and Saturdays, 1-5pm



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When they said that I would succeed,

A 6 minute, looped text installation that reflects the artist’s internal attitudes of being a white passing person of color and the assumptions others make about her and her sister on the basis of skin color.