The living dead girl : a performance art exploration of poor/working class women of colour as sites of violence in contemporary South Africa.
This practice-led study (Barrett, 2007; Candy, 2006; Little, 2011) seeks to investigate the status of poor/working class women of colour as sites of violence in contemporary South Africa. My research objectives are explored through practice and the methodological processes I use engage elements of performance theory and reflexive practice (Shaw, 2010). Using the medium of performance art, I critically engage with the sexist and racist gender politics which create conditions of abuse and violence for women of colour. This study also investigates how feminist performance practices in the works of South African women theatre and performance artists, signals an attempt to confront and deconstruct oppressive structures, which render women as invisible. The performed theory explores the processes which socialise women of colour into objects of sexual, physical, emotional and economic violence. The methodological processes in this study are drawn from feminist performance art (Forte, 1988, 1992) and performative autoethnography (Jones, 2005; Spry, 2011). These creative methods offer strategies which add a reflexive and autobiographical element to the written component of the study. The creative practice plays a significant role in examining the interaction of race, class and sex as factors contributing to violence against women of colour in contemporary South Africa. The creative output was further used to establish spaces which diversify representations of women of colour and create opportunities for women to resist racist and sexist constructions of identity and the body by establishing more complex and self-authored formations of self.