Maybe people were trying to make some kind of a point, but some have a hard time stomaching the worst of world history. The London Barbican Centre was heavily criticized for putting black actors and actresses in chains and doing a “human zoo” exhibition to show the horrors of slavery. The creator of the exhibit says that he was trying to show systemic racism and the way it has harmed black people. But there are others who disagree and want it all to go away.
The exhibit was cancelled, but there is a controversial conversation about whether or not it should have continued. The display was meant to show the ways that whites used to put black people out for show, as if they were animals. The UK Guardian referred to the exhibit as “both unbearable and essential.”
But there was more opposition than support for the show, and it was attacked head on by activists.
Sara Meyers, a Birmingham activist, called it “an ugly stain on European history.”
Sara pushed a campaign to boycott the the center’s work. Here’s what she had to say about it all:
“The African narrative is always being told from a colonialist and imperialistic viewpoint, that they are the victors and we are victims, when there is so much more to African history,” she commented on the campaign website.
“It’s time to tell our own story.”
Over 200 protesters caused a ruckus in London to get the center to cancel the exhibit, and apparently, it has worked. The display has been cancelled, and people are not going to be forced to view the uncomfortable imagery.
South African director Brett Bailey, who created the project, said this onFacebook:
“I appreciate that interpretations of this piece, as of any creative work, can vary; and that my intention to explore the machinations of systems of racism and how they dehumanize all who are touched by them can be read in different ways.