“This exhibition is so important to challenge the shame, doubt & insecurity for women in a misogynist culture where the very place of pleasure & bearing of life is treated as the most degrading thing of all!
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!
Her joy at seeing all the vaginas was the best example to me to be empowered also, and to step away from that shame & embrace that inner feminine in me!
Thanks for doing this & showing the world our vaginas are to be celebrated! xx”
Story submitted at the Sydney 101 Vagina exhibition 27-30 June 2013.
In May I visited Sydney with the express purpose of finding a venue to host the 101 Vagina Exhibition and Festival of the Vagina. After a bunch of too-ing and fro-ing I returned to Melbourne empty handed. Then 107 Projects gallery space came through with one week available just 4 weeks out, at the end of June.
So I spent 4 frantic weeks organising things to make the exhibition and festival happen in Sydney, along with some fantastic help.
As in Melbourne we had to set up a whole new hanging system that makes hanging 101 photos + 101 messages manageable.
Long story short, here are the photos :)
Media Release: 2 July 2013
101 Vagina Book Exhibition back after police interference
The 101 Vagina Book Exhibition is coming back to Sydney in September 2013 to be part of the Sydney Fringe arts festival.
101 Vagina is about breaking down the taboo around vaginas and body image shame generally. It is also about the sharing of story and wisdom. It confronts the lies we are told about what’s normal and celebrates uniqueness and diversity.
This is particularly relevant to the growing concerns around female genital mutilation and it’s sibling, labiaplasty. The increase in labiaplasty operations sought out by women and even teenage girls has shocked many people and been the subject of much media attention.
The book (and exhibition) contains 101 black & white photos along with a message written by each woman to accompany their photo. The messages that the participating women have shared are candid and moving. It is light and profound, cheeky and deep. The audience finds itself transfixed by story after story about women’s relationship with their vaginas. This is not the kind of exhibition you forget.
Dr. Elizabeth Gordon, herself an artist, said “I’ve been to many, many gallery openings and I’ve never seen people so engaged with the work, people are actually looking at everything and reading everything, rather than just standing around socialising. It’s addictive, once you read one you just have to keep going.”
The 101 Vagina book spent over two years in the making and only got to print after a successful Pozible crowdfunding campaign.
As might be expected it has had it’s share of controversy along the way. Before the book launch some outspoken feminists were upset about the fact that the project creator is male. Then, at the exhibition in Sydney in June, the City of Sydney council and the local police received complaints because images were visible to the public through the galleries windows. The police requested the windows be covered resulting in MX newspaper writing “Hide the vagina” on their front page (Friday 28 June 2013).
As so often happens, the only complaints have come from people who have not actually engaged with the project and read the stories. The overwhelming response to 101 Vagina is of heartfelt support and gratitude.
The 101 Vagina Book – Exhibition in the Sydney Fringe will the third time that this book will be exhibited. The first was for the book launch in Melbourne in March 2013 and the second in Sydney in June. Both were accompanied by the Festival of the Vagina which brought together a diverse range of artists, poets, musicians, educators, and politicians under the banner of removing the taboo around the vagina.
Let’s see how Sydney responds to this round of vaginal celebration.
101 Vagina Book Exhibition (Sydney Fringe)
Sydney Fringe page: http://2013.sydneyfringe.com/event/visual-arts-installation-environment/…
17-22 Sept., 12-6pm
Thursday 17 Sept. 6-9pm
Tap Gallery: 278 Palmer St Darlinghurst NSW 2010
101 Vagina website:
Media Release: 27 June 2013
Complaints to City of Sydney council about 101 Vagina Book
Complaints have been made to City of Sydney council about the 101 Vagina Exhibition on now at 107 Projects gallery at 107 Redfern st, Redfern.
One complaint focused on the posters around town advertising the exhibition. Though the posters contain no nudity they prominently feature the word vagina, which some people still seem to find offensive. The other complaint was that there were vagina photos displayed in the gallery windows, which there are not, though the photos are visible through the gallery windows when looking closely.
The police came to the 107 Projects gallery Thursday morning to follow up on the complaint, but they left when they realised that no photos were displayed in the windows and that they were clearly not pornographic.
However, they also said that something may need to be done if more complaints were received. It was not specified what that might entail.
The 101 Vagina Exhibition is on every day 12-5pm until this Sunday. On Saturday the Festival of the Vagina will bring together diverse artists, performers, educators and musicians in a celebration of the vagina with the aim of removing the taboo and shame that many people obviously still feel.
Besides the performers and speakers the day will also feature a Vagina Crafternoon, Large Vagina Photo Booth, Muff Muffin Decorating, Vaginal Mary Confessional, and Yoni Temple. Any artists are invited to bring their own vagina art to the gallery for exhibition.
Creator of the 101 Vagina coffee-table book and exhibition says: “Complaints like this show that we still have a long way to go in the removing of this taboo and in feeling comfortable with our bodies and our sexuality. We were all conceived and born through the vagina, vaginas are sacred, not obscene!”
The exhibition is also planned to be part of the Sydney Fringe and Melbourne Fringe festivals in September 2013.
101 Vagina Exhibition
27-30 June, 12-5pm
Festival of the Vagina
Saturday 29 June, 12-5pm
107 Projects – 107 Redfern St. Redfern
Media Release: 6 June 2013
101 Vagina Exhibition comes to Sydney
On 29 June 2013, Sydney will host Australia’s second Festival of the Vagina. The first was held in Melbourne in March as part of the 101 Vagina Book Launch and Exhibition, and attracted around 1000 visitors.
Philip Werner, the curator of the Festival of the Vagina and creator of the 101 Vagina project, will be bringing together Sydney’s diverse artists, educators, performers, and musicians, with the common purpose of removing the taboo and shame that many people still feel around their genitalia. He has also begun work on the 101 Penis project.
The award winning artist collective, 107 Projects, will play host to this unique event in Sydney in it’s spacious gallery at 107 Redfern Street, Redfern.
One of the highlights of the Festival of the Vagina will be the 101 Vagina Exhibition, in near life-size format.
101 Vagina is a coffee-table book comprising 101 beautiful black and white photos of vaginas (front on, standing pose) accompanied by a message by each woman from or about her vagina to the world. The aim of the book is to break down the taboo around the vagina and body image shame generally, as well as celebrating diversity and the sharing of story.
The book took over two years to complete and a successful crowdfunding campaign funded the first print run. Now published by Taboo Books, 101 Vagina is available for sale online at the 101 Vagina website and selected bookshops.
Festival of the Vagina:
Saturday 29 June, 2013
12 – 5pm.
101 Vagina Exhibition: (Book available online)
Thu 27 – Sun 30 June, 2013
12 – 5pm
107 Projects: 107 Redfern St. Redfern
101 Vagina Book Exhibition is part of the 2013 Melbourne Fringe Fest !
Dates: Wed 25 September – Sun 6 October 2013
Times: Mon-Fri 10am-6pm; Sat-Sun: 12-5 pm
Opening night: Thursday 26 Sept: 6 – 9 pm
Venue: Colour Factory: 409 -429 Gore Street, Fitzroy, Victoria 3065
Melbourne Fringe event page:
See feedback here.
See video interviews of visitors to the exhibition here.