With my performance, I wish to emulate the sound of pain as it represents my mother’s past. She got married at a very young age. At thirteen, she became a bride. Still a child, she shouldered the burden of a woman, taking care of everything in a family home. The “role” of the woman is to feed her children, her husband, and the entire family; she is to cook, to clean and to serve everyone silently. This is what my mother’s life looked like. I want to be in my mother‘s body – I want to feel her struggle in combination with my own pain.

My performance portrays the tradition of child marriage, where the decision to marry is made for the child by its parents before she is even able to make decisions for herself. This performance relates an indifference to the rights of women, to the experience of a marginalized group of people, to the potency of nationalism and racism.

The “belt” seen in the performance pinches my waist, so that it may be made very tiny, because a slim waist is supposedly a mark of femininity.

I choose to turn my back to the audience.

With my back visible, but my face hidden, I create a private self. My face is hidden as my mother’s was: for forty-seven years she wore one of two masks, either the mask of a wife or a mother. For forty-seven years her real face was hidden, made insignificant and invisible to the outside world.

















Duration of the performance 50 minutes, Dreamland gallery, Buffalo, New York 2016

Video stills by Pierce McCleary