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SAARTJIE is focused on AvanT-GardE arT in S-A. The name Saartjie has, un/re and -in-tentionally, been derived from the bAPTISEd name of The Quena / ‘Hottentot’ woman called Saartjie Baartman. She was 20 years old in 1810 when she was put on a boat in Cape Town, South Africa, to take her to her ‘destination’ in London. Talk about destiny! There ‘the Hottentot Venus’, as she was called by the britiSH, had to parade naked along a stage and in the streets. She was obliged to walk, stand or sit as her keeper ordered= most Quena woman have a large backside and the vagina hangs, as they said, like an apron or ‘the skin that hangs from a turkey’s throat’. Which fascinated the British prudes out of Sense of Sin. Despite single efforts to stop this spectacle of a human rights violation, a London court ordered for the ordeal to continue. So our Saartjie Baartman spend the next four years parading the streets of London like a savage circus attraction. She was then taken to pariS and handed to ‘a showman of wild animals’ in a travelling circus. It appears that she worked as a prostitute at the time, and drank heavily to cope with the humiliation of the lifestyle she was conned into. She possibly died in 1815 of syphilis, and her genitals and brain were removed to keep pickled in the museum of mAN. (some info from the Mail and Guardian, 15 June1995).

whY did we take on a name so riddled with controversy and provocation? Combining the hiSTORY of Saartjie Baartman (of whom you will read more in future issue/s of SAART) with the intentions of avant-gardism, we underground seekers take on for and in the spirit of Saartjie Baartman, a position of empowerment, not by becoming academic and stand loosing touch with the life of us, but through the looking glass of the naive and Fem/i\nism we search how to make sense of a world called ArToutTherE. So although we might reFER (in)to it, we do not follow a series of techniques (but pay our respect in f/r\ictive ways to those deCON philosoFERs out there!) In the spirit of the UNDERground we do what we do in refusal to cooperate in our, and Saartjie Baartman’s, defeat. So we say FriCKtion to you cOlonial empiris(IS)ts and to you waR hungry’s. We at Saartjie will forward and rewind in time as we need to because we want to turn the life=forms (OF ART) into trippy, sensual, INFOtive NET=working Experiences. wE will finger our mouse to turn on what you thought was dEAd. wE drink+eat to Saartjie’s new life.

We are free, at times pirATE in naivety, and plan and develop chaotically a progressive/ informative\ empowering treatment of the Art Scene and Writing. So, in the spirit of under-, we invite responses. Just keep in mind SaartjiE/sAARTJIe, in whatever mood takes her, will select what keeps her AlivE! Read the Blog on Art Criticism

 

 



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