Akala Speaks At Boycott The Human Zoo Protest (Video)
In the above clip, North London artist/activist Akala was on hand at the Barbican to speak against the currently-boybotted ‘Human Zoo’ exhibition.
What is within this exhibition, you might ask? You can read all about it here (as well as see a few images from the ‘zoo’ during its Edinburgh stop), although we’ve included a summary excerpt below:
The work, a highly controversial installation by the South African theatre-maker Brett Bailey, is based on the grotesque phenomenon of the human zoo, in which African tribespeople were displayed for the titillation of European and American audiences under the guise of “ethnological enlightenment”.
The zoos, which blossomed in the 19th century and continued right up to the first world war, sometimes took place in entirely transplanted tribal villages, but also in the freak show context of local fairs, where the infamous Hottentot Venus, as Sara Baartman was called, was poked and gawked at because of her large buttocks and “exotic” physical form. Perhaps the most extreme case was that of the Congolese pygmy Ota Benga who, in 1906, was put on display at the Bronx zoo in New York alongside the apes and giraffes. Bailey’s installation aims to subvert the premise of the zoos by replacing its exhibits with powerful living snapshots depicting racism and colonialism: a black woman chained to the bed of a French colonial officer; a Namibian Herero woman scraping brain tissue out of human skulls; the slowly revolving silhouette of Baartman.