Gisela Verdessi, Saturn Rules: the Kidnapping and the Long Voyages and Evils, 2013

The artist explains best: “The painting is about the kidnapping and extermination of the Selknam people of southern Chile. The Selknam, along with others, were displayed in a human zoo show [aka: ethnological exposition] that toured Europe. Specifically I painted Maurice Maître, one of the kidnappers, trying to separate a child from his mother, a woman who represents all the Selknam people. The other men stand in for the public; I painted only men because they bear responsibility for the horrific idea. In this living nightmare the woman transports her mind to her home and family, who are together again, and the heads of the men transform into stones on the lakeshore. The inscription at the woman’s feet reads ‘Female specimen from Selknam’ in French; the French committed the most crimes against native villages worldwide with their human zoos.”

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