Teresa María Díaz Nerio | Hommage à Sara Bartman
Teresa María Díaz Nerio
Courtesy of the artist and Art Labour Archives
Sara Bartman who is more commonly known as the Venus Hottentot a South African Khoisan woman who was brought to England to be exhibited in 1810, her genitals and buttocks were far beyond the understanding of what most Europeans at that time considered a human body in that sense connecting “humanity” with their race solely, she was considered almost like an animal and being exposed like an object. After her death her genitals and her brain were kept, as well as a wax model of her body and her skeleton were exposed in the Musée de l’Homme in France. This performance is the result of an investigation on the black performing body, and how blackness has become an act in itself, wearing her body as a skin was a solution to disguise myself and at the same time become myself through the other. The reason why Sara Bartman has become an icon for the African people in Africa and in the diaspora as well as for European people, is a reaction to the registered and legitimate scientific and voyeuristic rape of her body. The verticality of the sculptures and monuments that glorify the heroic acts of man is now simply the body of an African woman, silent, erect, awake.