Sharp indictment of the abuses during the colonial period.

Exhibit B

Brett Bailey, Third World Bunfight

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African people exhibited as objects of interest for the western public. Translating the disturbing tradition of the 19th and early 20th century ‘human zoos’ into a 21st century installation, South African director Brett Bailey confronts his audience with the western perception and exploitation of Africa. Bailey’s performers are showcased in tableaux vivants which not only make one painfully aware of the horrors of the colonial past, but also engender contemplation of the current problems of migration and deportation and the enduring scourge of racism.

Programme

Credits

direction, design
Brett Bailey
performed by
Gustav Borreman
Gideon Everduim Gikkels
Mike Latina
Junadry Leocaria
Merci Lie-Sem
Linar Ogenia
Nana Sarpong
Lucinda Sedoc
Cole Verhoeven
Dionne Verwey
Khouloud Zaher
Chiron Holwijn
Lourdrieth Langguth Leocaria
Marion Chaar
Muna Mussie
production
Third World Bunfight
production management
Barbara Mathers
internationale consultant
UK Arts International (Worcester)
coproduction
Wiener Festwochen
Theaterformen Festival
with thanks to
UK Arts International
KVS – Koninklijke Vlaamse Schouwburg
Loods 6

Tickets

Exhibit B is a non-stop performance. When ordering online tickets, please first select the date. Later in the ordering process, you will be able to select a time slot.

Background information

Brett Bailey is a South-African playwright, director and artist. With his company Third World Bunfight he casts a critical light on post colonial African society, the relations between Africa and the West and the related problems of the past and the present.

Exhibit B is the second part of three installations (A, B and C) which are respectively centred on the German, Belgian and French and the English colonies on the African continent. They make a connection between racism as it was expressed in the 19th and early 20th century (in ethnographical images and live exhibits of Africans, and in racist theories such as social Darwinism) and contemporary racism and the immigration politics of Western Europe. The word Exhibit in the title refers to the way in which Bailey has set up his installation. Africans are exhibited as objects of interest, as if they were museum pieces in a curiosity cabinet, just as was done in the 19th and early 20th century, when ethnographical exhibitions and so-called 'human zoos' were all the rage in Europe, allowing the European elite to marvel at the inferior, bestial people from darkest Africa.

Bailey's arrangement of tableaux vivants leads the public along a collection of such 'objects', the silent witnesses of how 'the black man' was and is depicted and perceived, from the 'domesticated blackie’ from the Belgian Congo to the contemporary asylum seeker. Using placards, documentation and museum pieces such as maps and skeletons, Bailey reconstructs iconic images from our collective memory, as in a museum. The emotive background music by a Namibian choir reinforces the sense of suffering these silent witnesses are undergoing and the injustice they have had to endure. The tableaux vivants include an African man whose hands have been cut off, as was done to the Herrero in Namibia; a scantily clad woman exhibited as Saartjie Baartman – the Khoikhoi woman who became famous as the Hottentot Venus; and a female slave in chains keeping a sergeant-major company in his bedroom. Especially for the Holland Festival Bailey will produce a tableau relating to the Dutch colonial history. But, as mentioned earlier, Bailey's installation is more than just a history lesson. He also explores contemporary racism, as evidenced in the tableau of two anxious asylum seekers exhibited as some kind of 'found objects'.

The set-up of the installation creates a very direct, distressing and intense confrontation with our own Western colonialism and racism. He or she who dares, looks the exhibited Africans straight in the eye, and they return the gaze. In this way they not only make the public painfully aware of the colonial past but also engender contemplation of the current problems of migration and deportation and the ongoing scourge of racism.

Biography

Brett Bailey is a South-African playwright, director and artist. With his company Third World Bunfight he casts a critical light on post colonial African society, the relations between Africa and the West and the related problems of the past and the present.

Exhibit B is the second part of three installations (A, B and C) which are respectively centred on the German, Belgian and French and the English colonies on the African continent. They make a connection between racism as it was expressed in the 19th and early 20th century (in ethnographical images and live exhibits of Africans, and in racist theories such as social Darwinism) and contemporary racism and the immigration politics of Western Europe. The word Exhibit in the title refers to the way in which Bailey has set up his installation. Africans are exhibited as objects of interest, as if they were museum pieces in a curiosity cabinet, just as was done in the 19th and early 20th century, when ethnographical exhibitions and so-called 'human zoos' were all the rage in Europe, allowing the European elite to marvel at the inferior, bestial people from darkest Africa.

Bailey's arrangement of tableaux vivants leads the public along a collection of such 'objects', the silent witnesses of how 'the black man' was and is depicted and perceived, from the 'domesticated blackie’ from the Belgian Congo to the contemporary asylum seeker. Using placards, documentation and museum pieces such as maps and skeletons, Bailey reconstructs iconic images from our collective memory, as in a museum. The emotive background music by a Namibian choir reinforces the sense of suffering these silent witnesses are undergoing and the injustice they have had to endure. The tableaux vivants include an African man whose hands have been cut off, as was done to the Herrero in Namibia; a scantily clad woman exhibited as Saartjie Baartman – the Khoikhoi woman who became famous as the Hottentot Venus; and a female slave in chains keeping a sergeant-major company in his bedroom. Especially for the Holland Festival Bailey will produce a tableau relating to the Dutch colonial history. But, as mentioned earlier, Bailey's installation is more than just a history lesson. He also explores contemporary racism, as evidenced in the tableau of two anxious asylum seekers exhibited as some kind of 'found objects'.

The set-up of the installation creates a very direct, distressing and intense confrontation with our own Western colonialism and racism. He or she who dares, looks the exhibited Africans straight in the eye, and they return the gaze. In this way they not only make the public painfully aware of the colonial past but also engender contemplation of the current problems of migration and deportation and the ongoing scourge of racism.

This performance was made possible with support by