Vanessa Beecroft

Lia Rumma | Milan

Since 1983, the war in Sudan has resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, created three million refugees and evacuees, and led to a 9 percent infant mortality rate and to an average life expectancy of fifty-eight years. It is within this brutal context that Vanessa Beecroft embarked on the project VB South Sudan, 2005–, which comprises a documentary video (still in progress) and six photographs from 2006 that take as their subject the artist’s three trips to the Diocese of Rumbek to visit the local orphanage and donate breast milk to three babies, including a pair of sickly twins.

The large-scale photographs deploy iconographies that date back to the Middle Ages: a couple (a white woman and a black man) with a child (Holy Family); a young black boy depicted as if crucified (Black Christ); a pregnant woman enveloped in a white cloak (Pregnant Madonna); a black woman nursing two children,

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