Two Women Braiding Their Hair Together is an original multi-media performance and video installation in which the artists braid their hair together in an act of female solidarity. Hair references prosperity, strength, and social status. These qualities are evoked through braiding, an act rooted in ancient relational and familial women-practices. Just as fiber is strengthened with additional strands, Two Women demonstrates power and durability women experience through unity with one another.
My performance partners and I (Maddy Knox and Hannah Hoel) braid our hair into three separate fishtail braids. The action is recorded from below and projected live onto the screen behind us. Our voices echo in the chamber of the performance space in an audio recording of us reciting the historical and symbolic meaning of hair and the rituals surrounding it.
Two Women was performed at the first annual One Billion Rising to End Violence Against Women in the Santa Fe Railyard in 2013. It was also performed at Santa Fe University of Art and Design in the same year.
Address to the women of V-day
What Eve Ensler, V-Day, and one billion rising has shown me today is that we are stronger when we come together than we stand and fight alone.
We are rising against is the violence done to women by men, by institutions, religions, culture and governments. Yet, so many of us have internalized that violence and often find great pain and difficulty in our attempts to relate to one another, woman to woman, across racial, cultural, socioeconomic and age barriers.
I hope that along with fighting to end institutionalized physical violence against women, today we can also see that our strength lies in our ability to work together and to end the violence we inflict on each other.
I do this performance today in the spirit of female solidarity.
My partner and I will braid three braids, one for the women who have gone before us and fought for the freedoms so many of us enjoy today, one for the women here today and all over the world rising, and one braid for the future. A future that we dare to imagine as free of violence towards women.