In this performance I invite the audience to brand Cyprus’s nineteen mines on my back. Vanessa traces the outline of the island and, one at a time, slowly and then quickly, onlookers step up. The tip of an iron rod is held under a blowtorch until it is reddish-orange. They place it on my skin, marking the location of a mine. I flinch with each burn, noticing that the people I know hold the iron to me longest.
Cyprus is known for copper. A century ago my great-grandfather, James Bruce, re-opened Roman mines on the island that had not seen activity for over a thousand years. He was resident director of an American mining company there in the 1920s and 30s, and my grandmother grew up in Cyprus.
Mines occurred in Kalavasos, Cyprus as part of the exhibition Under/Mining. Concurrently my below embroidery showed as part of the Larnaca Biennale Awarded Artists Exhibition at The O Gallery in Larnaca, Cyprus.
Photos by Nicholas Mann, Sergio Vaccaro and Vanessa Dahbour.