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People peeing on African child in French village? No, video of performance art in Brazil

IN SHORT: A viral video shows Piedra, a work by Guatemalan performance artist Regina José Galindo. It was shot in Brazil more than 10 years ago and the “child” is the artist.

“This is the filth of France, the ugliest scandal of the twenty-first century!!!”

That’s part of a common caption to a disturbing viral video.

The video shows a naked black person curled into a foetal position on the ground. Other people idly watch as, one by one, two white men and a white woman approach and pee on the person on the ground.

The caption continues:

The inhuman and shocking scene of “two men and a woman” urinating on an African child, in one of the French villages, and the child, completely stripped of clothes, lying face down on the ground, while numbers of The French, whose country has always shocked the world with the sophistication of their civilization, are watching this obscene, dirty, and abnormal act, without any sign of intervention from any of them!!!

The video and caption has been circulating on Facebook in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe since early September 2023. Other instances can be found on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, with varying expressions of outrage.

But does the video really show “this obscene, dirty, and abnormal act” in a village in France?

False claim about a video of performace artist Regina José Galindo

Artwork ‘equates the female body to a stone’

Africa Check took a screenshot of the first frame of the video and searched for its source on Google Lens.

After lots of digging, we came across a gif of the video on the website MakeAGif. It’s titled “performance PIEDRA de REGINA JOSÉ GALINDO” and was uploaded in 2014.

We then googled the words “Piedra de Regina José Galindo”.

This led us to several websites about the life and work of Regina José Galindo, an artist born in the country of Guatemala in Central America in 1974.

Galindo specialises in performance art, which is a time-based live action art form.

The viral video shows Piedra, one of Galindo’s works. The small and naked person being peed on is the artist, Galindo, herself. And her performance was in January 2013, in the South American country of Brazil.

One interpretation of the work says Galindo “equates the female body to a stone in their vulnerability to violent enactments”.

The video is performance art in Brazil in 2013 and the “child” is the artist. It does not show the abuse of an African child in a French village.

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