Girl with the Sun Over Her Head is a performance piece by actress, choreographer and director Agnes Nokshiqi and actress Donikë Ahmeti. Held last night in a dimly lit gallery in the Faculty of Arts, the performance begins with two women sitting in two chairs. Both are wearing dresses and high heels. They approach the audience, unaware of the other’s presence, and walk towards articles of black clothing lying on the floor. They undress, but they’re frustrated, unhappy with the black clothing in front of them. In the midst of their frustration, they notice each other. They smile and switch places, and all of a sudden, the black clothes on the other side of the room are perfect, just what they’ve been looking for. They both put on black dresses and black gloves, while lovingly looking at themselves in the mirror.
They start dancing an approximation of a strip tease, which quickly turns into shudders of pain, followed by screams. The tone of the performance changes direction radically, as the audience realizes that what they’re seeing is the pain of childbirth. When the screaming stops, there’s a heavy silence, followed by one sentence: “It’s a girl.” The two women start to rock back and forth, like they’re participating in a ritual, an invocation. They call for the baby’s death, cursing it in multiple languages.
The tone changes abruptly again, and the performance turns into a love story. The protagonists see each other once again, as if for the first time. They embrace joyfully, touching each other with great love. This is short-lived, however. Soon, the touch begins to burn. The bodies of the protagonists begin to bleed, and they learn that touching one another is a source of punishment.
The protagonists face the audience again, shouting “Kurve! Bitch! Kurvo! Slut! Whore! Prostitute! Cow! Lope! Krava!” A peak of anger and fear is reached, and before we can reach any resolution, they return to their original dresses. They put them on, covered in blood. They walk towards us, among us, and stand with the audience. They could be any one of us.
There’s a lot that isn’t explicitly explained in this performance, but the experiences feel familiar. The experience of seeing ourselves only based on what the mirror shows us. “Playing” a version of our gender as a source of safety. The desire that exists in the world to destroy girls. The desire that exists in the world to destroy girls who love girls. The desire that exists in the world to dehumanize and sexualize girls. The trauma that comes with living surrounded with the threat of destruction, trauma no dress can hide, trauma that is made all the worse by being a fact of daily life.
For more photos from the performance, click here.