Wednesday, 17 September 2014
PRESS RELEASE: BOYCOTT THE HUMAN ZOO - ONE MILLION RISING
BLACK ACTIVISTS RISING AGAINST CUTS (BARAC) UK
17 September 2014
Boycott the Human Zoo; 1 Million Rising
From Tuesday 23rd of September to Saturday 27th of September a picket will take place each day, between the hours of 5.30pm to 10pm at The Vaults, to coincide with showings of Exhibit B, Third World Bun Fight, by Brett Bailey, which is hosted by The Barbican. Protestors will assemble at the main entrance to Waterloo Rail Station, SE1 8SW.
BARAC UK is one of several organisations forming the campaign boycotting the exhibition and BARAC representatives and members will be participating in the protests at The Vaults.
Zita Holbourne, National Co-Chair BARAC UK said;
“You don’t tackle the legacy of racism or current racism by re-enacting racist atrocities. Contrary to the claim by The Barbican that Exhibit B is empowering and educational, it is impossible for the descendants of racism created through colonial rule, Empire and enslavement to be empowered by seeing black people caged, chained, blacked up, tortured and murdered. As a visual artist and curator, I create and exhibit art that both challenges racism and promotes equality. This exhibition does neither. Those of us who have a lived experience of racism do not need educating on racism. It is an absolute disgrace in our Capital city that this exhibition was agreed without consulting black communities on how it would be received and with complete disregard for the pain and anger it is causing. It is indicative of the deepening institutional racism we experience.”
Lee Jasper, National Co-Chair BARAC UK said;
“Here in London, a city that is 40% non- white, we have a strong and powerful tradition of black self- organisation and anti- racism. Brett Bailey or the Barbican could have at any time, spoken to a wide range of organisations, prior to putting on the show, in an effort to seek their views; they choose not to do so and to add insult to injury. We believe this Human Zoo to be racist in conceptualisation and presentation. It is an exercise in white privilege and power which should have been challenged when it was suggested it be hosted in London, rather than being supported by The Barbican and The City of London Corporation. Failure to withdraw will lead not only to a boycott of Exhibit B but of The Barbican as an organisation”
From 23 to 27 September, The Barbican will host Exhibit B, by Brett Bailey, at The Vaults in Waterloo.
Exhibit B is a re-enactment of the Victoria human zoo, using black people to act as exhibits subjected to racist torture and murder. The exhibits include black ‘actors’; a woman in shackles, waiting to be raped, a man in an iron mask, people in cages, ‘blacked up’ and in plane seats being murdered. The exhibition objectifies black people in an offensive and degrading way. The Exhibition is racist and hurtful and has been met with outrage by black communities and the wider public. A coalition of organisations including BARAC UK, representing over 1 million members in addition to the 21,000 plus people who have signed the online petition are calling for the exhibition to be withdrawn by The Barbican who are hosting it.
An open letter to the City of London Corporation, by BARAC UK, led to a meeting with members of The Barbican Board and management on 11th September, who refused to withdraw from hosting. A lobby of the City of London Council took place on the same day and a March and rally outside The Barbican with speakers and performers took place on 13 September. At the meeting on the 11th the Campaign requested a senior member to receive the petition on the 13th which was acknowledged. Despite at least one Board member being present at the Barbican on the day of the rally, only security staff were made available to accept the petition. As a result of this another protest took place on 16th September and the petition was handed in to a Board member.
Contact: Zita Holbourne, National Co-Chair BARAC UK, Campaign Press Officer.