(be)longing PERFORMANCE Camouflaged in cowboy shirts with fancy stitches made to hide broken hearts and cowboy boots custom made for the walking wounded, deflecting vulnerability with sequins and high heels, this is curious at their most personal and poignant. Beneath the neon glow of a highway road sign, their yearnings take them across vast desert landscapes in frustrated searches for fulfillment and fitting in. Leslie Hill carries the exquisite burden of newly purchased guitars she can’t really play while Helen Paris exiles herself to yoga retreats and detox diets before finally giving up and retraining as a butcher.
"(be)longing is like a road trip into the atriums of the heart, or a song whose first chords fill you with sweet despair... the quiet power of Leslie Hill and Helen Paris's performance lies in its low-key directness, its quirky juxtapositions and its understanding of the geography of loneliness and the myth of return." The Guardian
(be)longing FILM A group of inspiring African teenagers brought illegally or trafficked into the UK overcome desperate situations and build new lives for themselves in London. Now in college, fluent in English, with dreams of going to university, the girls face deportation on their 18th birthdays under current Home Office rules. This film asks them what they long for and where they feel they belong. 10 mins, 35mm, colour, 2007.
(be)longing DVD available from the Artsadmin shop
Performance commissioned by the Women's Library, London Metropolitan University and the Vancouver East Cultural Centre, Canada with support from Arts Council England; Brunel University and SMARTLab Digital Media Institute, University of East London.
Film commissioned by The Women's Library, London Metropolitan University and supported by Arts Council England; Awards For All; City Bridge Trust; The John S Cohen Foundation and Friends of the Women's Library. Made with the help of the NSPCC There to Here group, a support group of women and young girls brought or illegally trafficked into the UK as minors and sexually exploited.