Songs for My Sisters was a durational performance by Alison Crocetta for the Curitiba International Biennial in Curitiba, Brazil. Performed from 4:00 pm until 6:00 pm on August 21, 2015.

Project Proposal:

Songs for My Sisters will be a durational performance work for three sites in Curitiba that are linked by a walking meditation, singing and ephemeral offerings. This performance will begin in the lap of justice (Praça Dezenove de Dezembro), weave its way to the powerful laboring female Afro-Brazilian body (Maria Lata D'Agua fountain), and draw to a close at the great pine tree (Praça Tiradentes). I consider this work to be a recognition and celebration of the symbolic and historic feminine underpinnings of this city.

When I was asked to develop a new work for the Curitiba International Biennial, I wanted to understand how my own personal experience might connect with Curitiba. In my research for this performance, it was remarkable to me how much similarity there is between the current socio-political condition and historical experience of the women of Curitiba and the United States. Issues such as rape, domestic violence and inequality are alive and well in both cultures. It was from this common ground between myself and the women of Curitiba that I felt I could act to reanimate these significant centers of female presence within the city.

Scale and proximity are very important to this performance. In the Praça Dezenove de Dezembro, I will locate myself in the lap of the reclining nude sculpture (Monumenà Justice) and allow the size of my body to underscore the greatness of hers. At the Maria Lata D'Agua fountain I will adopt the stance of the witness in relation to the Água pro Morro sculpture by Erbo Stenzel. In this context, my body will mirror the stance of the sculpture in recognition of the history of women laboring within the domestic realm. Within the Praca Tiradentes, I will turn my attention to Mother Nature. I intend to walk on the glass ceiling and circumnavigate the single pine tree at its center. This space is a palimpsest for the history of Curitiba’s built environment and a kind of living shrine (memorial) to its naming. It is also a reminder of the impermanent nature of our existence on Earth.

At each site, I will be making offerings with temporary materials such flowers and clay dust. These offerings will combine sculptural form and gesture to build a transient bridge between my body and presence and the architecture of these public spaces. Throughout the walk, I will sing a variety of songs that are mostly derived from American cultural landscape within the tradition of folk and spiritual songs from the Civil Rights Movement, worker songs, dance tunes and a hymn from the Shaker community. I have chosen these songs because they speak to issues of social injustice, the need for resistance and perseverance as well as the importance of solidarity and love. Singing in English to a predominately Portuguese speaking audience, I will rely on the toning of these songs and the actions of my body to carry the core message and resist the notion that everything might be lost in the chasm of translation.