Sim Smith, London, October 2022
"Female Stallion was conceived against a backdrop of growing homophobia across the globe, the overturning of Roe v. Wade in America, and the ‘Woman Life Freedom’ movement in Iran. I’m dressed as a horse, claiming my place in society today as a queer woman, repeating the words, ‘I am the female stallion, swish my tail, feel alive.’ The horse is a symbol of strength and my swishing tail is a gesture of solidarity and resistance.
Get into my Rainbow is my response to anti-LGBTQI+ sentiment in Europe in particular. In 2017, when I visited Yosemite National Park in America with my wife, the writer Jina Khayyer, we were enveloped by a circular rainbow, created by the mist-spray of a giant waterfall. This magical image, of a protective rainbow that encircles the body, symbolising queer pleasure and safety, came back to me in 2021 when I performed in Poland and didn’t feel safe in a country whose state apparatus had introduced new anti-LGBTQI+ laws. Get into my rainbow is an invitation to both the LGBTQI+ and non-LGBTQI+ communities to join together in solidarity.
We know from Barbara Kruger’s ‘Your body is a battleground’ that power is rooted in bodies, applied to the body and therefore must be challenged at the level of the body. In 'I like to lick' my heroine demonstrates bodily autonomy, insisting on her right to express her desire, ‘Be in Bloom’ is a directive, a call for self-love, and 'Bouche à Bouche ( Mouth to Mouth ) is a call for open communication and self-expression in the face of all types of repression and marginalisation.
My masked performances are something akin to traditional Japanese Nõ theatre, where actor and audience are encouraged to become one with a character in order to practice their skills of empathy, reflecting my belief that practicing empathy towards others is essential for a healthy society." Kate Groobey, 2023