Press Kit: USA & Canada Launch 2014
– Tour dates & venues, press release, quick facts & background
– Media coverage, reader & audience feedback, endorsements
– About the 101 Vagina book, artist’s statement, about the artist
– Images, contacts and links.
The same information from the press kit is presented below.
101 VAGINA – Press Kit
USA & Canada 2014
Book Launch and Exhibition Tour
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Philip Werner – firstname.lastname@example.org
101 Vagina: Book Launch and Exhibition Tour
USA & Canada 2014
1. Los Angeles
Saturday 5 April – Sunday 13 April, 2014
Think Tank Gallery
939 Maple Ave, Suite #200
2. San Francisco
Saturday 19 April – Sunday 27 April, 2014
Goforaloop Gallery & Studios
1458 San Bruno Avenue
3. Laguna Beach
Thursday 1 – Thursday 8 May, 2014
Laguna Gallery of Contemporary Art (LGOCA)
611 South Coast Hwy”
Saturday 17 May – Sunday 25 May, 2014
Le repaire des 100 talents
5867 Rue Saint-Hubert
5. New York
Tuesday 3 June – Sunday 8 June, 2014
NOo SPHERE Arts
251 East Houston St
Saturday 14 June – Sunday 22 June, 2014
376 Bathurst St
101 Vagina book launch and exhibition tour.
After two years in the making, the 101 Vagina book is being launched in the USA and Canada with a series of exhibitions across the two countries from April to June 2014.
101Vagina is about breaking down the taboo around the vagina and body image shame generally. It’s also about the sharing of story and celebration of our diversity.
The book comprises 101 black and white photos of women’s vaginas, in front on standing pose, accompanied by a message written by each woman about her vagina. The messages span the spectrum of emotions and form a small compendium of women’s experiences with their vaginas and womanhood in general.
The book is self-published via Taboo Books by German/Australian photographer Philip Werner. It was first launched in Melbourne in 2013 after a successful crowdfunding campaign and Werner is now taking the book to the world via America.
Werner was first inspired by reading Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues in 2007, and wanted to do something to counteract the unrealistic standards held up by various media which lead many women to feel that they are not normal or attractive.
101 Vagina is relevant to current issues around labiaplasty. There has been a startling increase in genital cosmetic surgery being sought by women, and even teenage girls. The book has been widely praised for it’s honest, diverse images and messages.
Once printed, $5 from every book sold will go to women’s charities.
Traversing the continent, the tour will start in Los Angeles (5-13 April) before visiting San Francisco (19-27 April), Montreal (17-25 May), New York (3-8 June) and finishing in Toronto (14-22 June). Exhibitions in the UK may follow.
The book launch exhibitions will also feature a Festival of the Vagina, bringing local artists performers and educators together in vaginal celebration.
101 Penis and 101 Breasts are also in the making.
101 Vagina book quick facts
- Created by photographer Philip Werner
- Foreword by Toni Childs, Emmy award winning singer/songwriter.
- The book comprises 101 black and white photos of women’s vaginas (front on) accompanied by a message written by each woman about her vagina.
- Aims to break down the taboo around vaginas and body image shame generally.
- $50 retail price. Hardcover, 216 pages. Self-published via Taboo Books.
- $5 from every book sold goes to women’s charities
- First published in March 2013 in Australia. American edition offset-printed locally in USA/Canada on FSC certified paper (Forest Stewardship Council).
- 101Vagina is available for purchase through Amazon.com, the 101 Vagina website 101vagina.com and at the exhibitions.
- Find 101 Vagina at the following locations:
Website, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Google+, Indiegogo, Amazon
- Philip was first inspired by Eve Ensler’s “Vagina Monologues” and Greg Taylor’s hand sculpted vagina exhibition “Cunts… and other conversations”.
- The book took over two years to complete, from 2010 to 2013.
- As word of 101 Vagina spread through friends and social media, more and more women came forward to participate, wanting to support the project’s aims.
- A successful crowdfunding campaign helped get the book published in Australia.
- The photos and stories from the 101 Vagina book have been exhibited five times in Australia since it’s launch, including as part of the Sydney Fringe and Melbourne Fringe arts festivals.
- Philip organised a Festival of the Vagina at two of the exhibitions, bringing together artists, performers, musicians, poets, educators, in the name of vaginal celebration.
- One exhibition sparked controversy after police received complaints that images were visible from the street. Police requested the gallery to cover it’s windows, leading to a front page story in a daily newspaper. Complaints were even made to council because of the word ‘vagina’ on posters.
- Philip Werner has engaged with women’s issues over many years, including the One Billion Rising campaign by Eve Ensler’s VDay. He organised the Peace March for Jill Meagher, who was raped and murdered, attended by 30,000 Melbournians protesting against violence towards women.
- The follow up projects, 101 Penis and 101 Breasts, are currently in the making.
“Through 101 Vagina, Werner invites viewers to discuss the vagina more comfortably. Werner hopes this will encourage women to feel more comfortable with their bodies, doing away with the need to alter appearances through cosmetic labiaplasty, a procedure on the rise in Australia.“
“Most people have trouble even saying the V-word but a new book is celebrating vaginas of all shapes and sizes.”
The Sydney Morning Herald
“Hide the vagina: Police called to shield public from images”
MX Newspaper (Front page)
“A photographic exhibition of women’s vulvae at the Sydney Fringe’s Fringe Arts Forum was last week forced to censor its work over concerns it could offend the public. The 101 Vagina Book Exhibition … was told to cover parts of its images ”
“It’s a book full of close-ups of female genitalia created by a man but it’s not what you might initially think. With ‘designer vaginas’ all the rage, Philip Werner is trying to celebrate the everyday variety.”
“Sydney Fringe Festival exhibition censored.”
City Hub (Front page)
“Photographer Philip Werner refuses to conform to the pervasive societal and cultural cringe-factor.“
“Entering a gallery containing 101 gorgeous black-and-white images of women’s vaginas isn’t your usual art experience. Initially, the exhibition was awfully confronting and somewhat uncomfortable … [The] supplementary stories challenged the ideas we have about the supposed ‘normality’ of vaginas and instead revealed our individuality and diversity.”
“The taboos around our bodies, and around the vagina, in particular, allow shame to flourish. Could embracing the vagina eradicate sexual violence?”
The Good Men Project
“He was the local resident who organised the peace march to commemorate the life of murdered Melbourne woman Jill Meagher and he marched with a banner that said ”Choosing peace, hope, non-violence and solidarity with all women”. I loved that. I loved that this young bloke could do something so sweet and serious and important. Which is why I haven’t run away screaming from his project 101 Vagina.”
The Canberra Times
Radio & TV interviews:
– ABC Radio National (Nationwide)
– 2SER 107.3FM (Sydney community radio)
– JoyFM 94.5FM (Melbourne Gay & Lesbian)
– Alive 90.5FM (Sydney Independent)
– Channel 31 (National Community TV)
Reader and audience Feedback
“Fantastic! Should be part of sex ed for all young people!”
“Thanks. I learned something at 52. How much I still don’t know about myself…”
“Very Liberating. As a child you are taught to fear it, if you like/touch it, you are a whore. It is NOT TRUE! Definitely got me thinking.” Gracie
“I was thrilled to bring my 3yr old daughter along, and set her on the path for having pride of her vagina, her self, her future pleasure, her body & it’s life giving abilites, & to make sure she’s empowered!”
“Good on you for challenging society and their norms. Mind-opening exhibition, friendly!” Jana x 19yrs
“Wandering the city after the event with that beautiful white book cradled in my arms, I was looking at people around me, wondering if they knew the significance of this book, wanting to show people I walked past and say look at this ! Isn’t it awesome?” Bek
“Thanks Philip for asking me to help organise vagina crafternoon, I think I have found a new love in making vagina tiaras! ”Marcelle
“Raw, honest & empowering. Gonna go home & have a look in the mirror again me thinks!” Bec
“It was amazing to be involved! Bring on 101 Penis, I’ve found volunteers already : )” Matt
“Vagina Projects We Like” Listed on Naomi Wolf’s website for
Vagina: A New Biography
“If you are walking around on planet Earth it is because of the Vagina.”
“#kickforward 101 Vagina’s raising money to create a book to break down female body image taboos & shame.”
“I am a sex therapist and have written articles about vaginas and vulvas, as I realise how many women have an issue with the look of them. Having your book, I can show them the variety of shapes and sizes, the book will be very educational. Good luck with the book!”
“Hi Philip, … As a licensed psychotherapist I see the impact of body issues on women every day. I hope the project gets fully funded. Best of luck to you! Warmly, Jennifer”
“Everybody needs to see more vagina while they sip their coffee!”
“Your book will be a great resource to show patients in clinic. Look forward to it.”
About the 101 Vagina book
101 Vagina is about breaking down the taboo around vaginas and body image shame generally. It confronts the lies we are told about what’s normal and celebrates our uniqueness and diversity. 101 Vagina is also about the sharing of story, of experience; the passing down of knowledge and wisdom.
This book contains 101 beautiful black and white photos of 101 women, along with a message, story or poem written by each woman to accompany their photo. The messages are candid and span the spectrum of emotions. They are raw and honest and form a small compendium of women’s experiences with their bodies and womanhood in general, with a focus on the vagina.
101 Vagina is light and profound, cheeky and deep.
101 Vagina was first inspired by Eve Ensler’s “Vagina Monologues” which Philip read while travelling in the USA in 2007. Returning to Australia Philip found out about Greg Taylor’s exhibition of hand sculpted vaginas, called ‘Cunts… and other conversations‘.
Wanting to do something to help break down the taboo around vaginas, Philip had the idea of combining the visual element with women’s own stories and experiences. Being a photographer he decided that making a photo book and collecting women’s stories was something he could do. Philip knew of no other such book and found none when searching online at the time.
Since then Philip has come across many other similar or related projects by other artists. Fortunately there has been a proliferation of vagina art and projects around the world in the last few years, specifically to help break down the taboo and shame.
Vagina vs Vulva
It has been suggested the the word vulva should have been used for this project, rather than vagina. It is worth noting that, technically, the word vagina refers only to the internal canal leading from the external genitals to the cervix whereas vulva specifically refers only to the external area of the genitals.
Though the photos in this book are clearly not of the the internal tract, the messages and ideas encompass more than just the external genitals. This project is about women’s experiences of the entire genital area, from the cervix and womb inside to pubic hair on the outside. Hence the word vulva would not cover the scope of this book either.
Unfortunately the English language has no commonly used technical word which encompasses both the internal and external genitalia.
For this project the word vagina is therefore simply used colloquially, referring to the entire genital area, inside and out.
Artist Statement – Philip Werner
101 Vagina is about breaking down the taboo surrounding vaginas and the shame many women feel around their genitals, sexuality and bodies in general. It is about celebrating diversity and the sharing of story. It is also about beauty. The beauty of simplicity, of black and white photos, of the female form. And the beauty of open hearts, sharing vulnerability, pain, trust, love, hope and courage.
The initial inspiration for this project came from Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues, which brought home to me how debilitating the vagina taboo can be on a personal and societal level. Yet Eve’s work also showed the power that lies in the confronting of such taboos.
It is a sad fact that an increasing number of women are seeking labiaplasty. Sad that so many women end up believing they are somehow not normal or attractive due to the gross misrepresentation, in various media, of what normal is and where beauty lies. It is outrageous that Australian law forces this misrepresentation by making it illegal for normal vaginas with protruding labia minora to be shown in soft-core, unclassified porn, even though protruding labia minora are more common than not. Our law!
Given its aims, the 101 Vagina project was a success right from it’s inception. The stories shared on the website’s blog, as in this book, are candid and span the spectrum of emotions. They form a small compendium of women’s experiences with their genitalia, sexuality and womanhood. There is also a sense of generosity; a feeling that the sharing of story is a healing gift to oneself and others. People would tell me of reactions, conversations and feelings the project provoked, often with a sense of relief; the relief that inevitably comes with the lifting of a taboo.
I’m so glad to have been able to create that space, rattle that taboo and facilitate the lifting of some of that shame. And I feel honoured and humbled by the courageous participation and trust placed in me by so many women.
It is my dearest hope that this book will prevent some of the difficulties shared here from being repeated; that somewhere a teenage girl will, as a result, not hover with scissors over her own labia; that someone somewhere will not make that disparaging comment that can wound so deeply; that we will all be more free to celebrate our bodies and our sexuality.
I believe many of our societal problems are related in some way to sexual repression, including violence towards women and girls, if not violence in general. I would contend that cultures where sexuality is openly accepted as natural and normal are generally more peaceful and less violent.
John Lennon said: “We live in a world where we have to hide to make love, while violence is practiced in broad daylight.” We need to turn this around.
By now it has been over two years since I started this project. During this time I have been blessed with the opportunity to share stories, experiences, opinions and feelings, about our bodies and sexuality with so many people. I have received so much support and encouragement to keep going and make this book real, and yes, I also faced some challenging and prickly questions.
It’s been an amazing journey and I’m looking forward to the next chapter :)
(Brunswick. February, 2013)
About the artist: Philip Werner
Philip Werner is a photographer, web-designer, furniture maker, gardener, engineer, peace activist, hippy, and sensitive little boy hiding in a grownup’s body.
Born in Germany, he grew up next to fields and forests on the outskirts of Hamburg until his parents got tired of the cold war and brought the family to Australia for a warmer climate.
After graduating in Mechanical Engineering at The University of Sydney, including two years on exchange in Sweden, Philip became disillusioned with the workabee world. He sought refuge in various community projects and devoted himself to his artistic pursuit, photography.
His parents were both avid photographers, so cameras were always around. He spent many hours as a teenager in a makeshift darkroom at home, long before digital cameras became common, and still uses his father’s old medium format Rolleiflex 2.8F from the 1960’s.
Through this project Philip has become aware, and an avid supporter, of the sex positive movement making waves around the world.He currently lives in Melbourne with his cat Frankie and two lovely house-mates.
- Born in Germany 1973. Emigrated to Australia with family aged 11
- Speaks English, German & Swedish
- Graduated from University of Sydney with a First Class Honours degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1999
- Completed a Diploma of Transpersonal Counselling
- Ran his own small business Solar Energy Engineering from 2001-2007
- Worked in the environmental sustainability sector in Melbourne supplying solar solutions to schools and council programs. 2008-2010
- Since 2010 doing freelance photography, web-design, furniture (Lazy Deck Chairs) and various community projects.
- Has been active with various women’s organisations like The Art 2 Healing Project, Sisters For Sisters and One Billion Rising. In Sept 2012 he organised the Peace March for Jill Meagher which attracted 30,000 Melbourne residents to march against violence towards women.
- Contact: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
101 Vagina Project Images
Below are a few images with resolution suitable for web-publishing.
More images, in high resolution for print media, are in this Google Drive folder.
Women can email vagina stories to this address
For bookshops or libraries interested in stocking 101Vagina
101 Vagina Project Links
(101 Vagina book listed on Amazon.com)