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Center for Performance Research, New York, NY, November 17, 2022, Photographer Whitney Browne

The artist holds a terracotta vase with her arms outstretched until she is physically incapable of maintaining her grip. After several minutes of sustaining this action, the vase inevitably falls to the ground and breaks. The artist picks up a new vase and tries again. With the growing weight of each vase, her ability to keep hold dwindles as her exhaustion grows. This action is done repeatedly for 90 minutes. As the performance progresses, the broken vases on the ground accumulate in a pile of fragmented pieces, evidencing the natural fate of this exhaustive cycle.

This durational performance addresses the endured emotional and physical labor and violence that women and femme-presenting individuals of color experience within interpersonal relationships and familial dynamics. Burdened to embody the weight of a white supremacist, cis-hetero-patriarchal, neo-colonialist society, our forced resilience and strength is a survival mechanism.

Enduring the growing heaviness of this internalized violence and the fractures it leaves behind speaks to the pain that comes with healing wounds that cannot be erased from our past. However, a breaking point can also occur from awakening our awareness of the innate fragility of the oppressive systems which condition us to believe that we must ceaselessly withstand abuse and violence and sacrifice our liberation to maintain structures of power. Their very existence is hyper-dependent on our bodies and labor. In the breaking of these cycles is our release and transformation.

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