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Petition to stop SA playwright's 'racist' exhibition in UK

2014-09-06 15:57

Johannesburg - A petition is circulating in a bid to stop South African playwright Brett Bailey's exhibition about colonial oppression, that features living people, from going to London, Beeld reported on Saturday.

According to artnet.com, 7 000 people have signed the online petition to stop the exhibition from opening at London's Barbican Centre on 23 September. It has already been to Edinburgh, Berlin, and Vienna.

Entitled "Exhibit B" it includes a man in a cage and a woman chained by a collar around her neck to a bed. It is reminiscent of the 19th century circuses where blacks were put on display for the entertainment of Europeans and Americans, Beeld reported.

Art critic Brent Meersman said the campaign spread like wildfire through social media.

"To be honest the reaction has been quite racist," Meersman was quoted as saying.

"The mere fact that it's a white South African, people immediately think there must be something wrong with the exhibition. It holds a mirror up to colonial society and the continuing legacy of that oppression.

"Asylum seekers are included in the exhibition and people become very uncomfortable when confronted with that."

The "actors" in the work are selected from the area where it is being shown.

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