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From the series "Her Story" Aquatint Etchings by Jacqui J Sze

From the series "Her Story" Aquatint Etchings by Jacqui J Sze

Inspired by Sarah Baartman’s (1790-1815) true account as an African slave whose race and gender were cruelly exploited in the early 1800s, these architectural illustrations mirror a subtle narration of ‘The Hottentot Venus’ (a derogative term that referred to Baartman). Of Khosian descent, it was not unusual that she had large buttocks and elongated labia; she was persuaded to travel to England by military surgeon Alexander Dunlop, who displayed her as a ‘freak’ amongst his circus show due to her ‘exotic’ origin. After four years of exhibiting The Sarah Baartman Show in London, she was sold to France where she worked in more pressurising conditions and was examined as a ‘scientific curiosity’. When her novelty had worn thin with the Parisians too, she was forced into prostitution and died at the age of 25. French scientist Georges Culvier made a plaster of her body and preserved her genitals and brain in bottles which were publically displayed at the Musee de l’Homme for 160 years in Paris. President Nelson Mandella requested her remains be brought home in 1994; her body was returned 8 years later and buried 9th August 2002 on South Africa’s Women’s Day.
Although there are no literal graphic references to the protagonist nor people in any form, Sze’s depictions of these desolate vicinities intend to allow freedom for the viewer to envisage their personal reflection upon each imagery in accordance to Baartman’s journey. Through her eyes, these illustrations serve as a reminder of her story in hopes to highlight the importance of respect in cultural diversities and differences, regardless of which era we live in.
Aquatint Etchings (3 of 6)

Titled, "Remember When" (Aquatint Etching) from series "Her Story"
Titled, "All Along" (Aquatint Etching) from series "Her Story"
Titled, "An Ending End" (Aquatint Etching) from series "Her Story"