Using clothing and ritual in my first performance Man Created the Word in 1999, I presented three characters: fisherman, business man and mother.
In what I thought of as a ’ritualized shedding of personae’, I created a tableaux acting out gendered types. In full water-proofs I gutted fish, then peeled off the waterproofs to reveal a man’s pinstriped suit and read and typed from the bible: ‘So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him;… and the word, the word was with God’. Then I peeled off the suit to reveal a wedding dress. Putting on high heels and an apron, I crafted a baby out of lard.
A messy, smelly performance revealing bitterness at a culture that gives only lip service to women for the role they play in creating life and mothering, whilst patriarchy and power remain firmly in male power structures that control representation of women’s bodies and experiences through word and image.