‘There’s a Fine Line Between Fertility and War’, 2013

This Performance Art piece was devised by Kayleigh O’Keefe for Hamburger Queen 2013.

Hamburger Queen is a body-confident pageant for fat people by Scottee and Amy Lame, taking place annually at the RVT.  Kayleigh was a finalist in the 2013 contest which saw her compete in three rounds: Trend, Talent and Taste. ‘There’s a Fine Line Between Fertility and War’ is the Performance Art piece that she devised and performed for the Talent round.

‘There’s a Fine Line Between Fertility and War’, 2013, shot by Holly Revell

This Performance Art piece is a raw, powerful but comedic presentation of some of the Artist’s feelings and experience of fat, culminating in a charged provocation aimed at fattist perceptions of fat physicality and sexuality.

Performance Art HBQ

‘There’s a Fine Line Between Fertility and War’, Photo by Holly Revell

The performance begins with the Artist hidden from view behind a 6ft papier-mache model of the Venus of Willendorf, reciting a monologue to the backing of a tribal drum-beat. We hear about the Venus and other Stone Age fertility symbols, what they might mean and how O’Keefe relates this to her own body and experience. We hear about negative encounters of prejudice at the hands of other woman before she spins the issue around and challenges these perceptions with the question: “What if I look like a PREHISTORIC sex symbol?”. At body-positive event Hamburger Queen the provocative questions that follow are received with excitement and celebration until the Artist leaps from behind the statue and dances to a powerful and high-tempo climax of tribal drumming. Her body-paint matches that of the papier-mache deity, with the addition of a pair of skimpy fur pants. The dance routine is a humorous interpretation of life, sex and death in the Stone Age with lots of jiggling, bouncing and slapping.


Monologue Transcript:

(deep, gutteral) MIIIIIIINGE.

Here is my interpretation of the Venus of Willendorf,

one of the many Venus figurines of the Stone Age.

These figurines all have one thing in common:

They’re BIG, FAT women with MASSIVE tits and GARGANTUAN arses.

The Venus of Willendorf is one of the oldest Homosapien Artworks known to man. We’re talking 25 THOUSAND years old here.

The real statue is tiny, she’s small enough to hold in your hand. Nobody knows her true purpose or origin but it seems obvious to me that she’s some kind of fertility symbol.

JUST AN INKLING – Something to do wi’ ‘fanny flaps hanging out allover ‘place.

(exaggerated RP announcement) FAST-FORWARD TO THE PRESENT DAY.

Recently I experienced fattist attitudes when I was caught in the crossfire between my partner and his bitter sisters.

I’ve been told my body is “(highfalutin, pompous) not aesthetically pleasing” and that displaying it openly is “degrading to women”.

Apparently getting naked and fellating a toy narwhal is only acceptable if you look like “Bridget Bardot”.

Well, this got me THINKING.

What if I look like a pre-historic sex symbol?

Can I not be proud of being a fertile, SEXUAL young woman?

Are people really that scared of their own bodies that they can’t accept other people’s body confidence?


About Kayleigh

Glorious Leader of Gash Land, World Famous Artiste, Fist-Queen, Flabzilla and Pervert-Siren Kayleigh O’Keefe is a London-based artist working in live art and film to engage with sexuality, body acceptance and non-assimiliationist social assertion.

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