Lizzil Gay has been a Melbourne based performance and video artist, activist and researcher since 1992. There is a deeply personal aspect to her creative work allowing the body to always remain the anchor point of her conceptual, philosophical and political explorations.
As a researcher Lizzil has completed a PhD in Media and Communications from RMIT, Melbourne. Her doctoral thesis Wounded bodies as sites of dissensus: Acts of resistance by detained people seeking asylum, and in the performance art of Mike Parr explores the philosophy of pain as political, and the body as a site of resistance.
Using her own body Lizzil works with issues of depersonalisation and incarceration to explore the fragmentation of identity and the self. Drawing on her early training in Performance Studies, Suzuki Method, and Butoh at Melbourne University she has created works that animate the body as a site of expression and politics. Her seminal solo piece ‘C’mon Mickey. I love you’ was an embodied response to the death of her long time creative partner Mango Dysfunkt in 2010. Lizzil performed a 3 day durational live art installation at Donkey Wheel House in Melbourne exploring complex trauma, grief and loss through expressions of live self-harm and body modification.
Lizzil was one of the four founders of the notorious feminist burlesque group the Voodoo Trash Dolls in 2004 alongside Willow J, Sparkarella, and the late great Nikkity Splits. The Dolls unique and experimental blend of performance art, cabaret and burlesque culminated in their most acclaimed show ‘Dressed to Kill’ in December 2008 directed by John-Paul Hussey. She also co-founded, alongside Mango Dysfunkt, the political performance group Dysfunkt Productions whose provocative and daring multi-media events toured nationally and internationally from 1996 until 2002. Prior to this she worked with a number of experimental performance groups including Tedium and Wild Lunch Dance Theatre.
Lizzil has also been fortunate to work alongside a number of significant Australian performance artists such as Stelarc, Casey Jenkins, Glitta Supernova, and Jill Orr. She continues to explore her own body within a performance art context, whilst researching the body as a site for radical politics and social transformation.