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