Brett Bailey: Exhibit B
EDINBURGH • Playfair Library Hall • Ongoing
|South African artist and playwright Brett Bailey presents 13 tableau vivant installations featuring black performers which explore the themes of racism, 'othering' and the colonial history of Europe in Africa.|
Bailey's work, gazes into the hidden Curiosity Cabinets of European racism. It focuses on the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when Europe's powers scrambled for Africa's rich resources, and the continent's scientists formulated the pseudo-scientific racial theories that continue to warp perceptions, with horrific consequences.
Thus, Exhibit B replicates the ‘human zoos’ and ethnographic displays that showed Africans as objects of scientific curiosity through the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The tableaux feature motionless performers placed in settings drawn from real life. Collectively they confront colonial atrocities committed in Africa, European notions of racial supremacy and the plight of immigrants today.
As spectators walk individually past the tableaux, to the sound of lamentations sung live by a Namibian choir, a human gaze is unexpectedly returned.
Brett Bailey has worked throughout South Africa, in Zimbabwe, Uganda, Haiti, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the UK and Europe.
Edinburgh International Festival 2014 Website
||Playfair Library Hall|
Old College, South Bridge
University of Edinburgh
Tel: (44)131 473 20 00