ON RITUAL: Mona Hatoum

The ritualistic qualities around performance art are often translated through acts that the artist engages the public with, usually using their own bodies as a medium. As a way to express an idea, performance could be understood as a ritual in itself: it signals that something meaningful yet impermanent is about to occur.

As part of the exhibition "Roadworks'' from 1985, artist Mona Hatoum walked around the streets of Brixton barefoot for one hour with Doc Martens boots attached to her ankles. The performance was made in the context of political and social turmoil of the times in London, when Afro-Carribean communities suffered from high rates of crime, unemployment and poor living conditions. The performance resulted in the picture above, called “Performance Act”, where the artist's bare feet against the rough texture of the asphalt and the gleaming leather boots invite us to participate in a ritual-like pilgrimage experience. Mona marches for her beliefs despite the oppression that follows.