The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins Pietra Brettkelly

The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins Pietra Brettkelly
Vanessa Beecroft, the subject of this documentary, is fascinating from an artistic perspective, known for rendering large scale performance exhibitions with nude models — mostly female — whose interaction with the audience within a specific politically conscious space,channels esoteric ideas about identity, voyeurism and context.

Her exploration of Darfur and the Sudanese plight in "VB61 — Darfur: Still Death, Still Deaf?" helped bring ongoing issues to the forefront of the art community, which in turn brought forth a rash of philanthropic efforts from do-gooder artistes with a need to cleanse their consciences.

It seems that simply making the world aware of Sudanese problems was not enough for the inherently hypocritical, mercurial, conflicted and potentially delusional (you decide) artist, as her attentions turn to "saving" a pair of Sudanese twins named Madit and Mongor, whose mother has passed and whose father has no means of support. Allusions to the recent exploits of Madonna and Angelina Jolie are not unjustified, as issues of Western idealism and cultural insensitivity flounder about, along with the stability of the adoptee.

As Beecroft generally creates chaos in any given environment, citing artistic temperament in relation to self, one may question the motivations behind confronting the Sudanese justice system and religious sensibilities. She photographs children nude in a Sudanese church, regardless of the outrageous offence this shows to locals, gets well into the adoption process before communicating her intentions to her husband and two children, and endlessly pontificates about notions of exploitation and peer validation.

Brettkelly's documentary doesn't throw judgment onto her behaviour, rather it observes her in an often-poetic fashion that denies the commercial demands of the documentary medium. It raises more questions than it answers by observing both the shallow simplicity of rescue and the greater complications of ideology and fundamental beliefs, which cannot be "right" no matter how righteously some people believe them to be. (Kinosmith)