“Be Nice White…You’re in Bend.”
It’s the name of a new exhibit at Scalehouse Gallery in Bend, with a message meant to provide education and healing.
The exhibit created by Central Oregon BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) features interactive displays, made by 14 local artists.
“What brought this display around was to disrupt that narrative that Central Oregon and Bend in specific, has no diversity,” said Dan Ling, Secretary for Central Oregon BIPOC.
“What we wanted to do was show that we are here and we are part of this community, just to share our stories and our lived experience and to be recognized.”
The main exhibit is known as “Line in the Sand”…a glass case, stacked with colorful sand.
When BIPOC visit the exhibit, they can pour a scoop of sand into the case with a color that corresponds to a negative experience they’ve had relating to their race.
“Assault”, “Gaslighting”, and “Trauma” are just a few of the experiences visitors can express.
Ling hopes the display sheds a light on the lives of people living in Central Oregon.
“As a person of color in Central Oregon and Bend specifically,” he said. “What some of us are asked to do as a part of the experience of living here is to hide behind a mask of niceness or whiteness, that asks us to conceal our skin, to assume different mannerisms, to hide our accents, to hide our culture until it’s palatable.”
Another room shows an audio-visual presentation, where visitors can hear BIPOC sharing their experiences of racism, and other displays share the history of racism in Oregon.
The exhibit was created in partnership with Scalehouse Collaborative for the Arts, which also sponsors Central Oregon BIPOC’s small-scale magazine, “Complex(ion).”
“We hope that other BIPOC will come to see this exhibit, recognize that there are other BIPOC in this community, and we can build a sense of community and a sense of healing,” Ling said.
“What we also hope is that our non-BIPOC audience, or the white audience that comes to visit, is challenged in the way they view the community and who is a member of this community, and hopefully this art serves as in some ways as a protest piece which draws attention and challenges people, especially our white allies, to take action.”
It opened on August 6, and will run through September 25.
Folks can visit Wednesday through Saturday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., and by appointment.