Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Human exhibition

Have you ever been to a exhibition in a museum? walked amongst sculptures and painting? did you know that living people also used to be apart of an exhibition?.  In 1810, a KhoiKhoi San, Saartjie Baartman,  was taken by an English ship's doctor, William Dunlop, to England. She was a Khoikhoi woman in the beginning of her 20's, who became an anthropological freak in England, and she found herself put on exhibition in a museum, displayed as a sexual curiosity. 
Saartjie Baartman was taken to Paris in 1814, the same year that we in Norway was celebrating our freedom, but for Sartjie she continued to be exhibited as a freak. She became the object of scientific and medical research that formed the bedrock of European ideas about  what they back then called the Hottentot female sexuality. When she died in 1816, the Musee de l'Homme in Paris took a deathcast of her body, removed her skeleton and pickled her brain and genitals in jars. These were displayed in the museum until as late as 1985.