I was born Brigid



On the 2nd of March 1994, I breached the bowels of this earth. I inherited a stringent religious family with a long tradition forepassing the living generation — each newborn child was to be named after a Catholic Saint; Anthony, Francis, Kevin, James, John, Patrick, Paul, Peter, Angela, Catherine, Mary, Maria, Teresa and so on.

In the nine months leading up to my birth, my name had been decided. I was Brigid after a pre-Christian goddess, who over time, was claimed as a Christian saint. However, when I took my first breath, my mother took a pen. She scratched a line through my birth certificate and undeclared me as Brigid. Etching five letters over the blundered dotted line: L-é-a-n-n

noun (masculine)

        education, study

I was born Brigid was a personal exploration of being the first child in my family lineage who was named outside the limits of Catholic sainthood. Performed at the Lviv Regional Library for Youth in Ukraine, this performance took the form of unlearning a Catholic school ‘lesson’. Ascending into a room fitted with large-scale delicate paper cut-outs of saintly figures whilst a porcelain bell rhythmically rung in the foreground, the space transcends through an orchestrated journey of spoken word, wet lashes of leather belts followed by lacunas of silence. Taking a book from the library which had the name Brigid written on the coverpage, I crossed it out and slowly etched L É A N N beneath. Placing it back on the shelf, the book, along with my name, remains archived.

I was born Brigid (2019) was performed in Lviv Regional Library for Youth during ZABIH Performance Festival in Ukraine.

I was born Brigid (2019)
performance [25 minutes] 
porcelain bell, metal bucket, water, leather belt, library book, black ink
English to Ukrainian translator: Irina Kharlamova
Photographs courtesy of Myro Klochko