project image
Anina Major

first performed on December 1, 2016
Artist Studio, Providence, RI
performed once in 2016


Providence, RI


Deny it to a queen? Then happy low, lie down!

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

The climate of the world today causes me to ponder the gravity of current times and its ability to overwhelm—from the rejected constitutional amendments that would provide equality of the sexes in The Bahamas to the state-sanctioned violence against people of color in the United States. As an artist with a finger on the pulse of both places, I am challenged to process these emotions. In doing so, a tactful balance becomes imperative. I have to be cautious not to desensitize myself or perpetuate dehumanization, but I don’t wish to ignore the effects of repeated exposure to such injustices.

“Heavy is the Head” is a video self-portrait of myself balancing one of my pots upon my head. There is something eternally graceful about seeing a woman carrying a pot on her head; a vision of femininity, balance, and sustenance dictated by maintaining the load perfectly. Since ancient times, women have carried loads balanced on top of their heads, usually to do daily work but sometimes in religious ceremonies or as a feat of skill. Using the act of carrying upon the head, this piece seeks to underscore the essential role of women within society—that, in addition to women’s work, women undertake emotional labor.

Starting uncomfortable conversations, bearing the burden of silence, living with things unsaid, burying unspoken needs, being the projection screen of disowned pain, and wading through passive-aggressive slights silently: as a woman, I consider all these to be characteristics of my psychological inheritance.