The Barbican has chosen it appropriate to showcase real-life black people in cages under the disguise of art. Brett Bailey, the founder of Exhibit B, a white South African, believes his ‘art’ to challenge racism. He is not sharing pictures nor artifacts, he is using live black bodies as objects and proclaiming that it is for our benefit.
At first I genuinely didn’t believe what I was reading to be true. In 2014 the Barbican has the audacity to show semi-naked black people in cages, shackles and chains right here, in London. Many people are shocked that the Barbican would refuse to revoke the exhibition even after near 25,000 people have signed a petition against it. The liberties that the Barbican have taken prove only one thing, that they support racism.
Now, the Barbican is backed by public money, so this essentially means that as a Black tax paying woman, I am contributing to this disgraceful piece of ‘work’.
As critics have already pointed out, at £20 plus a booking fee, the ‘exhibition’ aims to cater to the middle classes, who are largely white. So this exhibition can’t therefore be targeted to the black masses as it claims.
Brett Bailey purports that the exhibition challenges the ideas of racism. How so? Is a member of the EDL going to come out of this exhibition enlightened? I very much doubt that. In fact it will strengthen their false opinions of black inferiority and further dehumanise us.
The first comment I said to a friend on reading about this was “Would you ask Jewish people to sit in gas chambers and re-live the holocaust?” I have heard so many people say similar statements, because it seems ludicrous that you would do so. It is estimated that 80million people died during the African Slave trade, so why do the Barbican and Bailey deem it at all acceptable to ask us to re-live the African holocaust.
Furthermore, let’s talk about the people who are going to see this sold out show. I’m not sure whether these people are sadistic, psychotic or plain ignorant. I haven’t yet learnt how to rationalise irrational behaviour. It is my honest opinion that those who choose to visit Exhibit B are doing so for the pleasure of going to see Black people in cages, so they can patronisingly glare at us, tell us how far we’ve come, all whilst attaining a perverted thrill.
Some have questioned the motives of the black people that have chosen to partake in such degrading activities. There are many reason for this. Perhaps, because there are a lack of roles for black actors? Perhaps because they are suffering from what I will call ‘post traumatic colonial disorder’, whereby they are self hating? I do not know. But I refuse to believe that the actions of a few Black people can override the opinions of the collective.
Black people are not objects. That is the bottom line. You cannot just put us in zoos and claim that it is for our benefit.
So, to the Barbican, I am telling you, someone that has been confronted by racism, that this is not going to aid any struggle and I demand that you stop hosting Bailey’s circus.
If you haven’t signed the petition already please do so here:
Also please keep up to date here and come to the next demonstration, the details can be found here. There’s power in numbers.
The Human Zoo Mass Picket The Show Must Not Go On!
****JOIN US TO PICKET THE HUMAN ZOO, TUES 23 – SAT 27 SEPT****
–The Human Zoo Mass Picket The Show Must Not Go On!
Every evening starting on Tuesday 23rd September ending on Saturday 27th 2014.
Please assemble at the main stepped entrance to Waterloo Station London SE1 8SW for 5.30pm
The picket will finish at 10 pm each evening.
Please spread the word.
Thank you to Sarah Myers for leading this campaign.