Daniel Oliva: White Constructions

White Constructions


Exhibition Dates: 11.2.2018 ­– 11.25.2018
Opening Reception: First Friday, November 2, 6pm – 10pm

White Constructions is a solo exhibition by NAPOLEON member Daniel Oliva and explores the history of racial segregation and inequality in American housing. The work approaches the issue by focusing on mid-Twentieth Century racist government housing policy and sources of white anxiety that intertwine the personal and social. In paintings and drawings, he evokes multiple eras by making anachronistic tableaus representing the people who inhabit middle-class homes and neighborhoods, and examining how people develop relationships informed by gender, race, and class. Oliva invites us to see people living in a system of white supremacy that has historically been, and in many ways continues to be, supported by the federal government. The exhibition explores how racism is larger than merely the evil actions so often committed by distinct and limited groups of people, but an elaborate system in which all white people are conditioned to perpetuate racism through unconscious collusion. Those who identify as white are the beneficiaries of this system, and in becoming aware of the history of whiteness, are challenged to see their place in dismantling it.

White Constructions considers an issue that remains hidden only from those who can afford to ignore it. As more white people willingly and honestly observe the harmful effects of this system of power, which bears down heavily on our national psyche, they may help in resisting it.

With an exhibition essay by Andrea Kirsh, art historian and contributor to the Artblog.

Conversation in the gallery with the artist and Melissa DePino, co-founder of From Privilege to Progress on Saturday, November 17, 2 – 4pm. We will discuss the history of white privilege in American housing as explored in the exhibition and how white allies today can learn about and support anti-racism work.

About the artist: Daniel Oliva is a Philadelphia area artist who holds an MFA from the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, Philadelphia and a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore. He has been a member of the art collective NAPOLEON since 2016. He has exhibited at Marginal Utility, as part of the 2013 CITYWIDE exhibition, Bridgette Mayer Gallery, The Galleries at Moore and the Painted Bride Art Center Café. He has exhibited a public installation at Pentimenti Gallery, in Philadelphia, and on the University of Pennsylvania Campus. He is an adjunct Professor at Penn State University, Abington and at Drexel University, Philadelphia, and was an undergraduate Instructor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. He has co-curated exhibitions at Penn State University in Abington, including 2017’s IMMIGRATION NOW and at Allens Lane Art Center.


319 N 11th Street, 2L
Philadelphia, PA
Gallery Hours: Saturdays and Sundays 2pm – 6pm or by appointment

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  • Located:

    319 N. 11th St 2L
    Philadelphia, PA 19107

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  • Gallery Hours:

    most Saturdays and Sundays
    2 - 6pm
    or by appointment
    (check current show dates)

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