Valienska Magfira

Not Just Blood

Take This, For It Is My Body, Unsettling Suite, by Sarah Jane Norman

For Australian-Aboriginal artist Sarah Jane Norman, blood has been used to represent the Aboriginals’ dark colonial history. ‘Take This, For It Is My Body’ is an interactive performance piece where 6 audience members sit for a traditional afternoon tea served with fresh scones prepared by the artist themselves with their own blood.



Take This, For It Is My Body, Unsettling Suite, Sarah Jane Norman, Dance Territories - Phebe Schmidt

In this performance piece, audiences are confronted with Norman’s blood in all kinds of ways: as a material, as a ‘contamination’ to the food, and lastly, as a bloodline. These confrontations all lead to the apparent mistreatment of aboriginals that has shaped Australia’s culture- one that hits close to home for the artist and their family. More specifically, it refers to the disturbing cases of the poisoned flours that were delivered to mission islands where aboriginal groups have been displaced.

Norman shared with RealTime their experience witnessing the audiences reaction to the scones. Where one would eat it enthusiastically almost without a thought, another would treat it like a communal wafer.  

Sarah Jane Norman challenges us to ask ourselves what blood means to us. When Lady Macbeth hallucinates blood, it’s a symbol of guilt and violence. And when the War Boys in Mad Max gets filled up with that ‘high octane blood’, it’s a symbol for fuel or life. Either way, blood is never just blood is it? It will and always be sacred unless we remove all meaning of it. And if we do, what will that make of us?