top of page


Updated: Jan 4, 2022

by Joe McGuffog

It was less about not feeling 'in-place' and more about feeling incomplete for me
queer performance art uk
lisa luxx's 'Eating the Copper Apple', 2021

Displacement, the feeling of not belonging somewhere, for some of us is one of our deepest and most privately held emotions. Everyone has a desire for a home; somewhere to put their own perspective into context.

What happens though when you have two ‘homes’? Two cultures to call your own?

"It was less about not feeling 'in-place' and more about feeling incomplete for me," explains luxx. After seeing no representation of Arab people beyond 9/11 and the Syrian civil war in 2011, four years ago she began to spend most of her time in the Middle East, “in order to feel more whole, and to wash the UK's portrayal of my rootlands from my eyes."

syrian performance art uk
lisa luxx, 2021

An orphan of Syrian heritage Eating the Copper Apple begins with a love story to her blood and history, as luxx’s father takes a flight over the crescent moon, from Damascus to the Jazz clubs of 1980’s Leeds.

‘Plucked’ by the state at birth, her thick Yorkshire accent might throw you at first. It rumbles, growls. You feel the struggle for her identity slipping out, all to an ethereal score composed by Lebanese sound designer Nour Sokhon.

When the score is low, luxx compliments the harmonies with her poetic percussion. When she sings and the score rises, it carries the melody, drawing us in like a true middle eastern storyteller. You can feel the kilometers travelled, woven into her words.

performance art uk
lisa luxx, 2021

It’s not until we learn about her stint in foster care that the pieces of her life begin to come together. Subsequently, under the guardianship of Renel, a West Indian woman living in Bradford, her longing for a home becomes apparent. ‘So, I’m West Indian now’ is maybe the most heartbreaking and simultaneously heart-warming line in the whole performance.

Renel is caring. She looks after little lisa but she is not allowed to be called Mum. The only picture she has left of Renel is of her torso, sidestepped away in a crushing display of personal boundaries - a theme that runs throughout the performance.

Being exposed to that kind of rejection at such a young age is hard to comprehend, even though she is eventually adopted by a Lebanese man and woman from Leeds.


Related: Artists Against Apartheid: The Struggle for Palestine


Reunited with her sister, she has a longing to know who she is - and who she was. “Since school I remember feeling a part of me must be such a secret - a taboo - that it was even hidden from me” says luxx. To see the tree from which she was plucked, the famed copper mirrors of Arabia her ancestors brushed into.

Each stroke revealed in the mirror’s reflection is a tiny detail of her performance: a brush showing us who lisa luxx is. She takes us through thoughts, conversations, soundbites, perfectly executed 4th wall breaks that layer to create a copper apple, a reflection of everything it means for her to be.

By the time she arrives in Lebanon, Syria is in turmoil - she feels she must reach Damascus. The language comes easy - she falls in love. Hiding her kisses from the police, because homosexuality is still ill