Penelope Harrall

My Luxury Item was a durational performance lasting 6 hours a day over an 18 day exhibition at The City Gallery, Peterborough and later at Hundred Years Gallery, London. 

The performance is aimed at highlighting the disproportionate VAT on sanitary products or more commonly known as ‘The Tampon Tax.'  Harrall used 2,098 tampons to create a sculptural and wearable dress. Through a laborious unraveling, distorting and stitching process, she concealed the tampon’s original form. During the performance Penelope stitches into the dress with blood red thread. The action signifies the beauty of the natural female body, representing the menstrual cycle in contrast to society’s perception of period blood being dirty and unhygienic.

My Luxury Item

'Wash Your Dirty Linen in Public' 2016

City Gallery Peterborough 

Credit rxc photography

 

My Luxury Item

'Wash Your Dirty Linen in Public' 2016

City Gallery Peterborough

Credit Jonny Dickens

My Luxury Item

'Wash Your Dirty Linen in Public' 2016

City Gallery Peterborough

Credit rxc photography

My Luxury Item

'Wash Your Dirty Linen in Public' 2016

City Gallery Peterborough

Credit Jonny Dickens

My Luxury Item

'Wash Your Dirty Linen in Public' 2016

City Gallery Peterborough

Credit Jonny Dickens 

My Luxury Item

'Wash Your Dirty Linen in Public' 2016

City Gallery Peterborough

Credit rxc photography

 

My Luxury Item

'Wash Your Dirty Linen in Public' 2016

City Gallery Peterborough

Credit Jonny Dickens

My Luxury Item

'Wash Your Dirty Linen in Public' 2016

City Gallery Peterborough

Credit Jonny Dickens

Thread in Three Parts


I
she is watching the sky leak
from lipped clouds
and catches the shattering sun
in the seams of her white dress


she runs home as fast as she can
to show her mother the fire seeds
she will grow all for herself


her mother sends her upstairs
to clean herself immediately
before the men wake up


she says the smell of hot metal
is a ghost we must keep to ourselves
so the men aren’t reminded
of chains and hellfire

II
a red worm stitched through an apple
sits umbilical


a hunched pigeon fumbles and tugs
eventually drops it in water

III
the oldest girl pulls it out her pocket
dangles it like a dead rat
rosy cheeked and curious
they jellyfish around her
underwhelmed by its softness


one girl thimbles her thumb with it
unravels it and plays seamstress
makes a luxurious white dress and scarf
for Barbie to wear on her date
but Ken is terrified by it
what it shows and what it reveals


- Charley Genever 

 
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