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Thursday 11 September 2014

Brett Bailey 'Human Zoo' lies about our campaign.

This article was written in response to an article published in Africa's Mail & Guardian which you can read in full here.  BARAC UK Co Chair Zita Holbourne has also written on this issue here 
" I am Lee Jasper Co Chair of Black Activist Rising Against the Cuts ( BARAC UK) a anti racist, anti austerity campaign and a member of the coalition of groups that form the campaign. I write on behalf of BARACK UK not the campaign itself.
I read your article with some disappointment. In your opening sentence you describe the London based Boycott the Human Zoo Campaign as ' baying for the banning' of Brett Baileys Exhibit B. That is wholly inaccurate . The clue is in the title of the campaign and I would have thought that any decent professional journalist, worth their salt,, would have been aware of that.
Our views are available on line so there is no excuse for your complete failure to balance your article, with comments from the campaign here in London.
That Brett Bailey, then chooses to base this attack on our campaign, by knowingly and wrongly claiming, we are calling for his work to be 'banned'. This is simply untrue and there is no evidence to support that baseless smear. Mr Bailey should be aware that calling for a boycott of institutions and business is a long and cherished tradition of the struggle against racism.
I am also surprised that a white South African artist supposedly committed to the cause of challenging racism, should then describe serious black organisations, trade union groups , campaigning groups representing over a million people, in addition to the 20,000 plus people who signed our petition as engaged in 'mob hysteria'. It would seem that Baileys latent arrogance and white privilege, assumes he can make such baseless claims without consequence.
He reaches his disingenuous conclusion by relying, on this wholly false premises. He knows that his claim is completely untrue and your paper, should have known, that this was simply an attempt by this artist to falsely malign and smear a credible campaign.
Here in London, a city that is 40% non white, we have a strong and powerful tradition of black self organisation and radical anti racism. 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, on what is, by his own admission, deeply contested territory.
They choose not to do so and to add insult to injury, Brett Bailey and your paper, falsely and grievously maligns the campaign using the exactly the same tactics as the Apartheid regime employed to suppress and marginalise, radical African artists opposing apartheid.
Its clear to us that Brett Baileys arrogance and white privilege, renders his artwork redundant in terms of our struggle for race equality in the UK. His comments, to you reveals his mendacious and disingenuous approach to this issue. This simply reinforces our view that Baileys work not only fails to challenge racism, but in reality reinforces racist views,
This art work we believe to be racist in conceptualisation and presentation. According to performers in the exhibition, they have been laughed at by groups of visiting white people , and subjected to both races and sexist remarks reinforces our position.
That African performers in this exhibition, having issued a preprepared statement, then are outrageously banned from talking to both ourselves and the press, rather ironically demonstrates, the real reality of white power, control and oppression of even those Africans in this show."

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