project image
Robert Pruitt

first performed on January 30, 2016
Contemporary Art Museum, Houston, TX
performed once in 2016


New York, NY


“WALL” is a series of performed sounds, rituals, and actions used to reimagine the concept of the “Wailing Wall” as a psychological, spiritual, and embodied place. The wall is simultaneously a place of negation and projection.

This ritual/performance asks the question: How do Black women create a place for psychic/mental stability? The activity within the performances—the subtle gestures, peering beyond and through the audience (onlookers)—is meant for both parties to wonder if they are looking at or over a wall. Is the space they’ve entered a public or private one? Are the lives of Black individuals, on some level, always public? This undertaking attempts to bare witness to the ways in which Black women perform heroicisms for a perpetually distracted audience.

The work considers a counter-narrative to the idea that public space/a wailing place cannot hold the grief and joy of Blackness as it needs to be fully expressed.

Who are we protecting ourselves from when we build this wall? Ultimately the women themselves become the wall: the thing to lean against, to hold up, to hold on to. Here, the women are both a hopeful bricklayer and a determined wrecking ball.

Action: Slowly lift the head with both hands. Women lift each other’s heads. Each woman tries to lean the head on the other. She raises her head. This piece is about silence. And loudness. What are bodies saying though we are silent.