An open letter to: John Barradell, Town Clerk & Chief Executive, Aldermen, Sheriffs, Common Councillors, City of London.
I am writing to you with concerns about an exhibition being held this month at The Barbican, Brett Bailey’s Exhibit B.
Our organisation BARAC UK is part of a coalition of organisations and campaigners who are supporting the campaign opposing the exhibition.
We have written to The Barbican setting out our concerns about this horrendous, offensive and racist exhibition which objectifies black people displaying actors in shackles and cages, recreating the Victorian human zoo.
We received a standard response from Toni Racklin to our complaint which suggested the exhibition was educational and empowering which we found astonishing.
Black communities do not need to be objectified to understand history and we fail to see how an exhibition which re-enacts the horrors of colonialism, enslavement and apartheid empowers anybody. The exhibition does nothing to address the legacy of historical racism or to challenge the deepening institutional racism that black people are facing in the present time here in the UK and globally.
We wrote back to Toni Racklin on the 23rd of August but we have not even been afforded the courtesy of an acknowledgement let alone a response to the points raised.
We are requesting that The Barbican and City of London Corporation withdraw from hosting this exhibition in response to the serious concerns raised about the exhibition. In a short period of a fortnight over 14000 people have signed a petition on Change.org calling on The Barbican to withdraw the exhibition.
Failure to take our concerns seriously sends a message that the voices of black communities in London are not significant. The following link to the petition will provide you with more information explaining why the decision by The Barbican to host this exhibition has been met with outrage and why we consider the exhibition to be racist and offensive: https://www.change.org/p/withdraw-the-racist-exhibition-exhibition-b-the-human-zoo
We are requesting an invitation for a delegation from the campaign coalition to attend the Court of Common Council Meeting taking place on 11th of September so that we can present our concerns to those representatives of the City of London Corporation this letter is addressed to.
I would be grateful if you were to acknowledge receipt of this letter and to provide a copy to the City of London representatives listed above.
Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC UK)