She Who Would Fly

Garage Gallery, Studio Watts Workshop, 1977


A three part performance installation for art and feminist audiences, in the words of the artist Suzanne Lacy:


I sat for several hours on two afternoons listening to women who came to the gallery share their experiences of sexual violation. They wrote their stories on paper and attached them to maps of the US which covered the room.


I was a ritual between myself and four performers, Nancy Angelo, Laurel Klick, Melissa Hoffman and Cheryl Williams, all of whom had direct experience with sexual violence. We prepared the space, shared food and our stories and anointed each other’s bodies with red grease paint.


I was opening the gallery one evening for 3-4 people at a time, who entered and was confronted with a large lamb carcass with wings, suspended between floor and ceiling as if in flight. Moving around the lamb they could read the stories pinned to the map-covered walls. On one wall, a description of her own rape was written by poet and novelist, Deena Metzger. After being in the space, the viewers became aware they were being watched from a perch above the door by four women, nude, bodies stained bright red. Avenging angels, metaphors for a women’s consciousness split from her body as it is raped. The bird-women were intended to remind visitors they were voyeurs to the pain of very real experiences.

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