UK News: Calls To Ban ‘Exhibit B’, Exhibition Branded Racist (Video)


Protestors are calling for the cancellation of the controversial exhibition ‘Exhibit B’ (Human Zoo), scheduled to run at the Barbican in London this month.

Created by South African artist Brett Bailey and his company Third World Bunfight,Exhibit B focuses mainly on the racist practices of 19th and 20th–century colonial Europe, from human zoos to ethnographic displays, re-creating them with contemporary performers of African descent. By all accounts, the piece is brutal, as performers literally stand in for Africans who were abused by Europeans in all manner of ways — from a woman kept chained to a bed by a French officer for sex to a slave forced to wear a metal mask covering his face, with a pin running through his tongue. [Source].

South African artist Brett Bailey

South African artist Brett Bailey

Watch a clip of the exhibition below.

What’s the hidden agenda here Brett?

Reparationist, community advocate and radio Broadcaster Esther Stanford-Xosei (below) explains why the exhibition is racist and tells us why it should be banned, not just in London, but the rest of the world.

An online petition  has been set up by Sara Myers calling for ‘Exhibit B’ to be banned. CLICK HERE to sign the petition.

I totally agree with Esther Stanford-Xosei and couldn’t have said it better myself.

I also have an issue with the black performers (click here to read their testimonials) who agreed to “star” in this production and sold out for a cheque, along with free bed and board. Where is your pride, dignity and self-respect?

Your thoughts please…

Categories: UK News, Video

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5 replies »

  1. Having seen exhibit b at the Edinburgh festival, I found it a powerful piece if work. It was very thought provoking and highlighted past injustices which I’m site many people are not aware of, and the powers that be would like to brush under the carpet. The point of the exhibit is to highlight that the past was horrific for many people, however there are still practices going on that are horrific such as the deaths of many immigrants as they are evicted from countries where they seek aslylum. To ban this show would be to deny the past, it should be compulsory for all politicians to see it.

  2. I support Sara Myers’ stance, have signed the petition and (as a museum practitioner who has researched the history of racist exhibiting practices in relation to 19th century World’s Fairs and ‘Human Zoos’) I have also written a detailed comment piece on why I disagree with the Barbican’s decision to show ‘Exhibit B’. ( Esther’s commentary follows on from the views articulated by Simon Woolley of Operation Black Vote, and many, many other prominent individuals and representatives of black-led political, media and cultural organisations in calling this project racist. At the time of writing my own blog post there were 1000 signatories on Sara’s petition…and this has now risen exponentially to c.18,000 (and rising). It isn’t just the content that makes ‘Exhibit B’ racist, it is also the artist’s problematic conceptualisation of this piece. If you read what he has stated about how he went about recruiting participants and developing aspects of the visual/’live performance’ narrative, you will realise that the entire project (from inception to realisation) is steeped in insensitive, paternalistic and patronising ignorance of issues of ‘race’ and histories of racism. Brett Bailey should have spent more time researching and consulting with scholars who actually understand critical ‘race’ theory, colonial and imperial histories, and the sociologies of ‘race’ before attempting to pursue a project like this.

  3. @Cm, yes some people are ignorant of the atrocities, but this could have been done better. I know when I saw the slave port in Badagary, I didn’t need to see people connected to the chains, I saw the chains, I felt their pain, I learnt. This was part of my first excursion in my first year of secondary school (95-96), it stayed with me.

  4. If it’s got people talking about the way humans treat other humans I guess that’s a positive.
    But why only use people who have a certain skin color? Ain’t it unacceptable to treat anyone that way, regardless of their skin color? Meaning, wouldn’t the exhibit be equally as powerful if it showed a random mix of people rather that a group specificly chosen because of their skin color?
    If the people in the exhibit agree to be in it, that’s their choice, it’s abit much to call ’em sell outs or whatever just cos you don’t like the exhibit.
    This skin color nonsence, which people incorrectly call racism (impossible cos there’s only one race, the human race), will only go away when people stop putting themselves, & others, into skin color groups.

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September 2014
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