playing an accordion as part of a performance called double burden
Double Burden performance Photo by Amy Dignam


Double Burden performance at Leyden Gallery, 6.30 – 9pm, 2nd March 2017

DesperateArtwives takeover 9/9a Leyden st, London, E1 7LE


In 2017 I was invited by by Amy Dignam of.desperateartwives to make performance for a maternal live art programme.


Double Burden was made especially for this motherhood & live art showcase. It was the 4th and probably final evocation of a series of performances that explore the burden of motherhood that started with Burden in 1998, continuing a series of works made from the late 90s that use material  metaphors to perform the lived reality of mothering and re-represent the unfair cultural and physical burdens of parenting on women. This performance intentionally combined and renewed aspects of previous live works.

The weight of expectation and the load of care and guilt are symbolised by a heavy red hessian sack and a heavy red suitcase. These are carried through out the evening whilst stopping to share mummy stories with audiences.

At the end the evening all the baggage is opened revealing a lump of lard and an accordion. The lard is fashioned into a baby sculpture and an altered lullaby sung to the lard baby.

Making and manifesting work through time, the action of dragging a red sack corresponding to the weight of my child was intended to be made sequentially every few years from 1998. The final piece Outside Circumference was in fact never made. It was problematic in two ways: the physical act of dragging the full weight of a grown child as I get older and weaker, as well as loss of metaphor as the weight and responsibility for a child is understood to less as they get older.

For this performance there was a sack filled with lard and a heavy red suitcase with an accordion. I wore a white nightie as if prepared for the onset of labour and hospitalisation and carried the suitcase and sack fall evening whilst exchanging short anecnotes and stories about motherhood. At the end of the evening I made a lard baby to which I sang a lullaby of my own creation.

View other performances about visibility and motherhood.