Gave a book away to a woman who just sat and cried in front of one of the photos and stories.
Whoever you are, I made this book for you!
This is why I created this project. There is so much healing needed around these issues, and every time I exhibit I see people being moved, being touched, and having their hearts and minds opened.
At the opening here in San Francisco there was a small group of boisterous young men present. They were not disrespectful but hadn’t yet engaged with the stories. They asked which one to read and I pointed them straight to the woman who’d been on the verge of cutting her own labia with a pair of scissors as a teenager.
Like everyone else they became absorbed in the ocean of emotion and feeling expressed in the stories.
It is a complex set of issues and emotions to find yourself confronted with. I have the sense that the lighter stories and funny quips actually do a lot to open people to the deeper and darker stories and experiences. If all the messages were ones of trauma people would perhaps keep some sort of guard up, to prevent themselves from feeling overwhelmed. And if it was only light and funny, people would dismiss it as too superficial.
But because trauma is interspersed with laughter and joy, the same way life is, people remain open and unable to either dismiss the lighter side, nor guard against the darker.
Again and again I see how powerful this work is.
Great article by David Hansen about the 101 Vagina exhibition that will be at Laguna Beach from 1-8 May, 2014.
David and I spoke at length about the project and related issues. It was interesting for me that he was surprised that this was still an issue. As he reflects in the article, he had thought that all this was dealt with in the sexual and feminist revolutions of the 60’s and 70’s . But if that was the case then why are the numbers of women seeking out labiaplasty (genital cosmetic surgery) skyrocketing?
There is also a lot of discussion in the media about rape culture. How could rape culture exist if we were all truly comfortable with our, and other people’s, sexuality? This is a huge issue, and until we deal with the underlying sexual repression and suppression, we won’t get anywhere near getting rid of sexual abuse in our society.
So, yes, this issue has not nearly gone away.
Click this link to read the full article:
Dr Hernando Chaves is an MFT therapist and Professor of Human Sexuality. He writes and lectures extensively on the subject.
I approached Hernando over a year ago when the project was in it’s infancy and we’ve been communicating about it since them.
It was great to finally meet at the exhibition and book launch in Los Angeles and to catch up for an interview. Hernando is positive and energetic and passionately engaged in the issues around sex education.
“It’s really important for men to get to know what women are thinking and experiencing.”
See Dr Chaves’ website here: http://drhernandochaves.com/
Recorded on 7th April 2014.
Saturday 5 April – Sunday 13 April, 2014
Sat 5 April, 6-9pm
Think Tank Gallery
939 Maple Ave, Suite #200
101 Vagina successfully launched in the USA at the Exhibition and Book Launch in Los Angeles at Think Tank Gallery in Downtown Los Angeles.
I can’t believe that it’s only been two and a half weeks since I got on the plane in Sydney on my way to Los Angeles, and now the first of my six city tour of USA and Canada is already done.
Thanks so much to the amazing crew at Think Tank Gallery, in particular Jacob Patterson. I was honoured to be at their space and felt very supported.
So, what’s happened since I got here?
Think Tank Gallery is a fantastic, huge space. I had a week to get over my jet lag and do some promo work getting flyers around the place and hanging a big banner out the front.
I was also super happy to have room for other artists to show their vagina art. Thanks to Mia Maldonado, Christiana, Morgan Miller and Ginger Liu!
This is the first time I’ve been able to hang all 101 images and messages in a single row, normally I need to double up.
People also jumped onto the vagina craft table with enthusiasm!
And as usual there we some great messages in the guest book.
And then it was all over.
San Francisco here I come !!!
I came to your exhibition yesterday at Think Tank and just wanted to say that I found your exhibition so beautiful, empowering, enlightening and f-king awesome!! Its such a celebration of diversity and a huge dose of positivity towards the ultimate power of femininity – which of course is so suppressed and covered in disgust in all societies.
The diversity and ownership seen in the photographs and stories is a fresh and powerful experience. No more sweeping vaginas under the rug and breeding insecurities and shame.
One image that stood out the most for me was the one with a woman on her period with a tampon string. I have never seen this – periods are associated with blue liquid anywhere else (!!!). To see this normal cycle in action was so good to see. Its natural, we go through this one week out of four. Real, raw and capturing the truth.
Nanette Gonzales from LA Weekly photographed the opening night of the 101 Vagina Exhibition and Book Launch at Think Tank Gallery in Los Angeles.
Another exhibition is now lined up for the USA & Canada tour: Laguna Beach!
(Laguna Gallery of Contemporary Art)
611 S Coast Hwy
Laguna Beach CA 92651
When I first arrived in L.A. I stayed with friends in Irvine and drove down to Laguna Beach to relax and get over my jetlag. After rolling my pants up and strolling down the beach, I happened past the Laguna Gallery of Contemporary Art (LGOCA) and walked inside to have a look.
I was warmly greeted by Chritiana, herself an artist, and when I mentioned the exhibitions I was doing she told me that she herself had made vagina art! So I invited her to show her work at the 101 Vagina exhibition. She loved 101 Vagina and twisted the gallery owners arm into hosting 101 Vagina themselves at LGOCA.
Because the exhibition in Chicago had been cancelled I had the first week in May free. Turns out that suited LGOCA perfectly to coincide with Art Walk also.
On top of all this I was delighted to find out that LGOCA have a strong focus on humanitarian aid, supporting good causes. So 101 Vagina is a perfect fit, given that $5 from the sale of every book goes to charities helping victims and survivors of violence and sexual abuse.