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 Saint Brigid, the first Irish Christian nun. However, when I took my first breath, my mother took a pen. She scratched a line through my birthcertificate and undeclared me as Brigid. Etching five letters over the blundered dotted line: L É A N N

Léann is the old Irish masculine noun for education.

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 live action 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 in the cover, 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.

Duration: 25 minutes
Translator: Irina Kharlamova
Photographs courtesy of Myro Klochko shot on 16mm black and white film.
Materials: Porcelain bell, metal bucket, water, leather belt, library book, black ink