News and Views
News and Views about the project.
Media Release: 5 Dec 2013
101 Vagina calendar ready for Xmas; 101 Penis project progressing.
Following the successful exhibition of the 101 Vagina book at Sydney Fringe and Melbourne Fringe festivals, photographer Philip Werner is now busy with the follow-up project, 101 Penis, as well as planing the US launch of 101 Vagina.
The photographic work for the 101 Penis project is now well under way with 29 out of 101 participants already photographed, and Werner is seeking more participants.
101 Vagina and 101 Penis are about breaking down the taboo around our genitalia and body image shame generally. They confront the lies we are told about what’s normal, and celebrate our diversity and humanity.
The already completed 101 Vagina book comprises black and white photos of 101 women’s vaginas, each accompanied by a message or story written by each woman about her vagina. The messages are candid and span the spectrum of emotions. Together they form a small compendium of women’s experiences around their vaginas and womanhood generally.
101 Vagina is particularly relevant today given the startling rise in women and teenagers seeking labiaplasty (cosmetic surgery on the vagina) in Australia, while we lament genital mutilation in other countries at the same time.
Already published locally (via Taboo Books), 101 Vagina is launching in the USA in April 2014.
Anyone interested in participating in 101 Penis or 101 Breasts can get in touch with Philip via any of the project websites.
Looking for that perfect Christmas gift? Buy the 101 Vagina calendar or book for your friends online at the 101 Vagina website.
101 Vagina – USA – April 2014.
Saturday 5 April – Sunday 13 April, 2014
Think Tank Gallery, LA
(Edit: Please see the updated page listing all dates and venues here:
This will include a one day Festival of the Vagina, pulling together local artists, performers, educators, etc. under the umbrella of celebrating the vagina and removing the taboos.
Know someone who might light to participate? Pass it on :)
So far I have only got one city lined up (Los Angeles) but I am still looking for venues in San Francisco, New York etc. Know some venues or have an idea of which city you’d like to see 101 Vagina exhibited in? Let me know.
I am also looking at the possibility of touring Europe after the USA, but that’s a distant dream at the moment? Want to help me make that one real? Again, first thing I need is venues for the exhibition.
I’m really happy to be landing at Think Tank Gallery, they do some cool stuffs!
It’s early days, busy preparing all the publicity materials etc. so keep a look out for updates. I’ll be doing my best to get the attention of everyone who’ll listen. Ellen DeGeneres, are you listening???
So, in the mean time…
SHARE SHARE SHARE !!!
Media release: 29/9/2013
Parents invited to bring children to vagina exhibition
There is so much in the media these days about children learning about sex and sexuality through pornography, and about the startling rise in women and girls seeking out labiaplasty, yet very little is put forward by the way of alternative information and education sources.
The 101 Vagina book is not about sex per se, nor is it an educational manual. However, it is about women’s sexual organs and their relationship to them, and presents a perspective which is honest, candid and often very moving.
The black and white photos are a frontal view in standing pose. They are not intended to shock, nor as a detailed lesson in genital anatomy, they simply show that “normal” is a broad range, rather than the narrow view presented by mainstream media.
In this way 101 Vagina aims to break down the taboo around genitalia and body image shame generally. It celebrates diversity and the sharing of story and wisdom, and intends to generate debate and greater acceptance of our bodies and our sexuality.
As if to highlight the taboo, police visited the exhibition in Sydney in June due to complaints and requested that the gallery windows be covered. They also suggested that minors should be kept out of the exhibition. The project creator and photographer, Philip Werner, responded by writing an article called “Children come out of vaginas but are not allowed to see them?” published in Ciao magazine.
Such real, unedited photos, and candid messages about women’s relationship to their bodies are uncommon for children to come across, yet it’s important that the distorted view presented by the mainstream is countered somehow.
One women had this to share about bringing her three year old daughter to the exhibition in June: “… I was thrilled to bring my 3 yr old daughter along, and set her on the path for having pride of her vagina, her self, her future pleasure, her body and it’s life giving abilities & to make sure she’s empowered! …”
Children, growing into teenagers, don’t naturally develop shame about their bodies, it is taught to them by us adults. They are naturally curious, trying to understand the world around them, which means they’ll find information one way or another. Therefore it is up to us adults to guide them through the misinformation in the culture we’ve created.
Attending the gallery Werner said: “Several teachers have come through the exhibition and said how great it would be to get school groups through here, or get the book in to school libraries. I’d love for that to happen. More than one woman in the book wrote about considering labiaplasty as a teenager. This is such a great antidote to that.”
The 101 Vagina Book Exhibition is part of the 2013 Melbourne Fringe arts festival as is up for another week until Sunday 6 October.The exhibition is free and open to the public (rated PG), though donations are appreciated to help pay for costs.
101 Vagina Book Exhibition
Dates: 25 Sept to 6 Oct
Times: Mon-Fri 10am-6pm; Sat-Sun 12-5pm
Venue: Colour Factory 409-429 Gore St Fitzroy
Melbourne Fringe event page:
101 Vagina project website:
Philip Werner (project creator): firstname.lastname@example.org
Colour Factory Gallery: www.colourfactory.com.au
The opening night of the 101 Vagina Book Exhibition as part of the Sydney Fringe was packed!
People had heard about it from all sorts of different directions and once again it was great to see people engage with and absorb the work. There is a kind if reverence with which many people stand and read, and look, and read.
Great to have Tami Sussman perform her “That word Vagina” spoken word piece, Hannah from Honi Soit talking about the recent #vaginasoit issue, and Nikki Goldstein, a well known sexologist, delivering some vagina education.
Thanks to Tap Gallery for the great space. It’s a non-profit community run organisation! :)
The QR code censored vaginas were a hit at the opening night of the Sydney Fringe Arts Forum in Leichardt on Friday night.
Read here why the images were censored in the first place.
This is the first time that 101 Vagina images and text had been exhibited in a setting that was not exclusively about 101 Vagina. This meant many people came face to face with it who were not expecting to be.
It made for some interesting reactions. Some people straight away engaged in various ways, others walked past pretending not to notice, apparently feeling embarrassed. More often than not it is the men who seem to feel too embarrassed to look and read. I suspect that this is due to an unspoken cultural attitude that looking makes you some sort of pervert. No wonder internet porn is so popular, since people can look without anyone seeing you looking.
I think I also overestimated people’s comfort and skill levels with their smartphones. Many people made no attempt to scan the QR codes, and may not have realised that there was more to them than met the eyes (though it was explained clearly on an information page).
Still, many people got out their phones, scanned the codes and read the linked articles. Now as before I am always fascinated to watch people engage with the 101 Vagina project. Always there will be people who are touched and moved and deeply appreciative of the work and the message.
Interestingly, the venue manager, who had initially said that the images could not be displayed, and then said that they need to be censored, came up to me afterwards and expressed her support for the project. She said that she completely agreed that it is not children who have problems with nudity, but their parents, who then impose these problems on their children. She had just been concerned about complaints from parents to council etc and didn’t want to have to deal with any kind of fallout. Fair enough. Just goes to show that projects like this are still needed to remove these taboos.
The group exhibition at the Italian Forum is still on until the 29th Sep, Wednesday to Sunday 2-6pm
Now I’m looking forward to the main event, the exhibition at Tap Gallery.
Below are the URL’s linked to by the QR codes:
Media Release: 16 August 2013
Vagina censorship at Sydney Fringe 2013The 101 Vagina Book Exhibition will be part of the Sydney Fringe this year (2013) and was also selected to be part of the Sydney Fringe’s Fringe Arts Forum, a visual arts showcase. (Fringe Arts Forum 11-28 Sept: Opening night 13 Sept 6pm)
However, months after arrangements for this were made, the Italian Forum venue owners decided that the images could not be shown because they want the venue to be “family Friendly”.
Regarding this question, Ciao magazine published an article, titled “Children come out of vaginas but are not allowed to see them?” on the question of minors viewing the exhibition’s content. This followed the police’s suggestion that minors should be kept out of the recent 101 Vagina exhibition in Sydney in June. The police also requested that the gallery windows be covered, leading to a front page article in MX newspaper with a large headline “Hide the Vagina”. Arts Hub also covered the story in a bit more detail.
After frustrating communication attempts the venue decided that the images could be shown, but only if they are censored such that no genitalia is visible.
This presents an excellent opportunity to raise the issue of censorship and explore the taboo from another angle. The audience will find themselves engaged in a multimedia censorship bonanza, where each “offending” genitalia will be covered with a scannable QR code that takes people, via their smart phones, to a censorship related website, article, image or simply the original, uncensored photo.
In a related issue, the media recently picked up on the “scandal” caused by the Sydney Uni Student magazine, Honi Soit, who published 18 vaginas on their front cover. Something went wrong with the black censorship boxes not sufficiently obscuring the genitalia and all heaven broke loose.
Vagina related taboos, and body image shame generally, are connected to the staggering increase in women and girls seeking out labiaplasty, to which Australian censorship laws contribute.
The main exhibition at Tap Gallery in Darlinghurst will still host all the uncensored images, from 17-22 Sept. 2013.
101 Vagina will also be in the Melbourne Fringe from 25 Sept to 6 Oct 2013.
101 Vagina Book Exhibition (Sydney Fringe 2013)
At the Fringe Arts Forum (only a few of the images and censored)
Dates: 11-28 September: 2pm till late
Venue: Italian Forum, 23 Norton St, Leichardt
Main Exhibition (Entire exhibition)
Dates: 17-22 September: 12-6pm daily
Opening night: Tuesday 17 September 6-9pm
Venue: Tap Gallery, 45 Burton St, Darlinghurst