What is it about?

“América Utópica” is an ongoing project by artist Karen Navarro that uses crowdsourced skin tones and data to create mixed-media demographic portraits. Ranging in color from the lightest blush to darkest umber, each square represents a participant's skin color.

Combining photography and text, Navarro visualizes data that speaks to race, migration, sense of belonging, and identity within digital and “real” communities. The work reflects on today's socio-political situation and makes reference to personal experiences as well. As an immigrant from Latin America and a descendant of Indigenous Peoples from the South, for Navarro, her work is a, “celebration of diversity, to reframe the representation of historically marginalized identities. The work aims to show the diversity of the United States, be a positive message of hope, and question the actual space that is given to people of color in society.”

Who can participate in the project?

Everyone can participate in the project regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, geographical location, gender identity, disability, economic status, and/or any other diverse background. 

Right now the project is focusing on the United States but in the future, it may expand to include other parts of the world.

How do I participate?

To take part in the project please click the submit button below and complete the form.

What artworks have you created and what was the inspiration behind them?

"Shine America 2043", 2021

When the confinement started in March 2020 in the U.S. my portraiture work was completely interrupted. Soon after the socio-political situation in the U.S. took a turn over the death of George Floyd who was brutally murdered at the hands of the police. This situation made me shift during this period in the way I work. Therefore I decided to start collecting images of skin tones via an open call on Instagram to create work. My curiosity for skin tones steadily and expansively grew since I first moved to the U.S. Before migrating to the United States my skin color, ethnicity, and/or race were not as relevant to me nor the people around me. I became more aware of this when I had to fill for the first time a migration form and then the Census.

"Shine America 2043" is a direct interpretation of the 2011 U.S Census data prediction. Which states that all the non-white groups combined will be the majority by 2043; surpassing the white population in numbers and making up more than half of the U.S. population. Mirroring this data I’ve created this color study composed of 61% of skin complexion tones from people who self-identify as BIPOC and 39% of skin tones from people who self-identify as white. Each square represents the skin tone of a person who lives in the United States. Additionally, each square has the first name imprinted of the participant who submitted the image via the open call. The work aims to show the diversity of the United States, be a positive message of hope, and question the actual space that is given to people of color in society.

Shine America 2043, 2021

Archival inkjet print, wood, neon, paint, and resin

45 × 85 × 5 in


Using Format