FRANCE: Avignon Performance Art Festival Features Caucasian Babies “On Skewers”

Natasha Biase

Disturbing stills from a popular performing arts festival in France have gone viral on social media, sparking outrage among spectators who call the images from one performance featuring white baby dolls hanging from skewers “racist.”

The photos, which portray scenes from afro-feminist director Rébecca Chaillon’s show Black Card Named Desire, feature multiple black women holding dozens of Caucasian baby dolls impaled on skewers. Although fans are defending the scene, explaining it is meant to be comical, critics have labeled it as anti-white and anti-family.

According to a description on the Festival d’Avignon’s website, the nearly 3-hour performance is intended to portray the supposed stereotypes and fantasies that white people have about black people. It showcases eight Afro-descendant artists in front of a predominantly white audience.

“Eight women stand on the stage. All artists, all black women,” the description of the performance reads. “They look at us then start to speak and, with the utmost sincerity, act out their life stories in a series of skits straight out of an Afrofuturist novel. Their subject? The figure of the black woman as an object of fantasy. An image far from their everyday life in a French society that only allows them to be at the service of others.”

While the play reportedly aroused an aggressive reaction from theatergoers, some of whom resorted to violence, critics are praising it as “increasingly sensitive to social and ecological issues.”

Images from the play, which closed on July 25, were shared online this past weekend, enraging X (formerly Twitter) users who believe the images are hypocritical and would have faced immense backlash if the roles were reversed.

One X user, who goes by the handle @IHypocrite, shared the image with the caption: “The annual French performing arts festival in Avignon sponsored a show by Rebecca Chaillon which features black women walking around with white baby dolls on skewers.”

Bestselling author and filmmaker Lauren Southern also shared the images on X, quickly racking up nearly 1 million views.

“French art show by Rebecca Chaillon this week featured black women skewering white babies. Maybe I’m just a right wing extremist or something but I’m kinda thinking this is not very okay,” wrote Southern, continuing: “In fact it’s pretty damn disgusting and racist. The media are pretty quiet.”

Continuing in a thread, Southern added: “Apparently the art show is supposed to be a representation of Caucasian stereotypes of black people. I [never] once thought of black women skewering white babies until I saw this. Even worse, they had one of the actors randomly steal someone’s bag in the audience.”

The jarring snapshots of skewered infants circulating online comes on the heels of viral footage out of South Africa showing political leader Julius Malema calling for violence against white citizens of the country.

At a rally last Saturday the leader of the far-left Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party sang a song associated with the “genocidal” anti-apartheid campaign against the country’s existing Dutch settlers, chanting “kill the Boer, the farmer.”

Despite Malema facing backlash for encouraging violence against white South Africans, his party is reportedly growing in popularity. According to Fox News, The Democratic Alliance (DA) party, EFF’s opposition, is currently polling to win 16% of the vote, and the EFF is polling closely behind at 13%. 

John Steenhuisen, the leader of the DA, condemned Malema yesterday, calling him “a man who is determined to ignite civil war” and a “bloodthirsty tyrant calling for mass murder.”

The South African election is scheduled for 2024 and will elect a new National Assembly and the legislature in each province.

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