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Alejandra Parra

first performed on May 25, 2019
Engage Studios and Gallery, Galway, Ireland
performed once in 2019


Belfast, Northern Ireland


Thinking about how all the little things accumulate and can influence the person we become, I based the performance on the Grimm version of the fairy-tale Cinderella, a story of manipulation, control, pain, and denial. Suspended around the performance area were cast parian porcelain traces of my footprints that I added overheard phrases to, such as “Are you going to wear that today?” and “She isn’t pretty, but she is unusual, mutton dressed as lamb.”

Wearing a gold wedding dress with a gold clutch bag, I entered the gallery space and sat down. Around me were placed two bowls and jugs of water, a knife, a razor, soap, a metal body brace, and a story book. I removed my shoes, filled a bowl of water, and started to bind each of my feet, in turn, in bandage taken from my bag and soaked in plaster-of-Paris. After cocooning my feet, I poured the second jug of water and shaved my legs. Once my ablutions were complete, I read the Grimm version of Cinderella to the gallery, which includes the mutilation of the stepsisters’ feet at heel and toe. With the story complete I used the knife to cut through the dried plaster around each foot, from toe to ankle on one and at the heel for the other, and put on my gold shoes, completing my outfit.

I stood up. I looked around the space. I removed the dress and laid it on the floor. I reached down for the metal body brace, my behaviour modification device, and padlocked myself into it. The behaviour modification device is a hinged metal girdle punctured with bolts and nuts that can be loosened and tightened to change the circumference, making sure that I don’t gain too much weight. The bar up the back, fastening at the throat, ensures I maintain good posture.

With the padlock secure I looked around the space again and gave the padlock key to one of the witnesses and left the gallery through the front door.

I did not return for the key. No guarantee of happily ever after.