This photograph is documentation of a performance piece. I collected my period blood for a period of 5 months and used it to nurture three plants. In the germination of the plants, the circle of reproduction is completed. I produce life as my mother produced me as her mother produced her. A matriarchal lineage of birth is completed through self-reproduction. Even though the piece has ended, it was only a few months ago (9 months after the piece began) that I was able to eat a tomato that grew from this plant.
On Blood and Earth
the living room
I mix my blood with the earth and plant seeds. I water the plants daily, I take note of their fruits and flowers, they are born from my blood, my seed. I reproduce in them, I keep them in my house, and I sleep next to them. They are my children.
I was sitting on a reclining chair on the lobby of NYU New York Gramercy Residence Hall donating blood last spring. It was my first time. As I watched the pound of blood take the shape of a small heart inside the plastic bag I noticed how warm it was, and how tender it looked as it left my veins. I thought, ‘here I am, bleeding away in a foreign country; leaving a half a litre of blood in a place where it will stay longer than my body.’
The blood that connects my body to the body of my mother, to the body of her mother, and to the women in my family is made tangible in the monthly menstrual cycle that my body goes through. By collecting the blood and mixing it with fertile earth, the blood – containing my ovules as seeds of life passed on from my mother and my mother’s mother on to mine – becomes a fertiliser and a creator of life in the form of a plant. By fertilising earth away from my motherland, the blood finishes its cycle. From blood to blood, from country to country.