Saartjie Baartman

Gold Leaf and Acrylic on Wood Panel

2020

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Created by Mark Steven Greenfield as a part of his series, "Hey-Lo".

Balthazar, 2021, Acrylic and Gold Leaf on Wood Panel, 20 X 16, (L).jpg

A Khoekhoe woman who was exhibited as a freak show attraction in 19th-century Europe under the name "Hottentot Venus". ("Hottentot" was slang for the indigenous Khoekoe people of the southwestern area of Africa.) She was exhibited for her steatopygia (having substantial levels of tissue on the buttocks and thighs) uncommon in Western Europe which not only was perceived as a curiosity, but became a subject of scientific interest, racist bias, and sexualization. She died in 1815 at around age 26, and her skeleton, brain, and genitalia were preserved. A body cast of her figure remained on display until the 1970s. The Saartjie Baartman story is often regarded as the epitome of racist colonial exploitation, and of the
commodification and dehumanization of Black people. In 2002, her remains were returned to South Africa where she was buried on National Women's Day.