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August 31, 2013

Female Artist Does Something No Previous Female Artist Has Done Before: Creates Huge Vagina Art Installation

It's a tribute to Winnie Mandela, who just emailed me to say, "I think I'd have preferred a marble bust."

No really, it's an installation at a women's prison in South Africa where Apartheid protesters such as Winnie Mandela were incarcerated.

And this daring female artist had a Lightning Stroke of Inspiration: What if art celebrating womanhood was basically a silly joke incorporating the avant-garde theme of Giant Vagina Puppetry?

Does the Pulitzer committee give out awards for daring innovation and novelty in art? If so, this lady's a Lock.

I literally have never, in my life, seen a female artist create a cutesy-poo representation of a vagina and then slap the OUTLAW ART label on it. Literally, never.

This has never, ever, never never ever been done before, and I mean never, and also ever.

Oh by the way it's supposed to "spark a dialogue" or "raise questions" or whatever the ckuf the last 53,381 vagina art installations were also supposed to do.

At this point, I must ask myself: What dialogue still remains? Which questions are still on the To Do list?

Oh I should add she did add a big innovation to The Same Thing We've Seen Seventy Three Bazillion Times: a canned sound effect of a woman screaming, and then a sound effect of a woman laughing.

Which I guess Raises Still More Questions and Sparks Even More Dialogue.

A long, long time ago this actually was, for five minutes, close to daring or unexpected. That time has long since passed. This is no longer morally offensive -- again, that stopped 15 years ago. It's artistically offensive. You can't keep doing the same thin act forever, Ladies.

Let me practice a little and try to translate this French report. (Warning: I'm okay at this but this might not be quite accurate, and confession, I have to hit google for some of these words.)

So I'm going to try a combination translation/fisking. Like combining some personal homework with some blog work. Indulge me. It's a Saturday.


It enters into a walk-in vagina!

Right out the gate, I know that's wrong. I have no idea what the right translation is, though. It's idiomatic. The words themselves are easy, I just don't know what they mean together.

An art installation in Johannesburg which intrigues or angers the South Africans, well rooted in a culture dominated by...

Any guesses?

... macho tendencies.

When they asked the conceptual artist Resma Chhiba, 30 years old, to conceive a work of art for a former women's prison from the era of Apartheid, where Winnie Mandela was incarcerated two times, she had seen an occasion to present to the world a message about the true power of women.

And that message is that women's power is in their vagina. Which, 20 years ago, would have been just about the most insulting and crude thing you could say to a woman.

But now it's a Revolutionary New Idea.

And when I say Revolutionary New Idea, I mean this idea has been around for the last nineteen years. It's just slightly less New than New Coke.

This young Hindu--

They said that. They're French. They say things like this.

Though it is sort of bracing. Just because we can't say "This strapping Hindu buck" in America doesn't mean we should be jealous and hold it against them.

Okay I lied, I mistranslated, really they said something else, but I already did that joke and I'm not deleting it.

This young practicing Hindu--

Okay that does sound better. Though I still think in America we'd be very skittish about "Otherizing" her right up front like this.

--has invented a noisy "Yoni." The word ["Yoni"] means the vagina, or the vulva, in Sankrit, the language of the Hindu religious texts.

Thank you for informing us what "Sanksrit" is. We otherwise might not have known.

But I'm still lost on "vulva."

It's a tunnel 12 meters in length, replicating a vaginal canal.

I don't know about "replicating." But then, I don't know your wife.

The entrance is surrounded by thin black silky ribbons which evoke the pubic hair. The interior is lined with velvet, upholstered in a bright red.

Hm. I never would have thought of any of these Unexpected Artistic Choices. I guess that's why I'm not making 12 meter long vagina replicas.

"It's a vagina which screams, in a space where women were previously imprisoned," the artist explained to AFP.

I don't think you need to explain this. Or even quote it. This is all obvious upon a surface inspection of the thing.

It's like saying "'I picked the color red because vaginas are frequently red, or reddish,' the artist speculated."

One sort of picks up the "Screaming Gigantic Vagina" motif without the aid of the artist's Commentary Track and Notes for Further Review.

"At the level of symbolism, the message is that the vagina is a space of power, which contrasts with the prison in screaming, but also in laughing about it, and having fun with it, but that it also a sacred space which conveys respect."

"I absolutely did not create this work for the sake of controversy," the artist lied through her teeth and suppressed a girlish giggle.

I may have mistranslated that last part.

But it is exactly that [controversy] which has come to pass.

Unexpectedly.

"It's the most intimate part of my body. I grew up in the country, we learned to not expose our bodies. It was forbidden to show the thighs. [But then,] the vagina!" reacted Benathi Manggaalez, a young woman of 24 years who works at the place as a security guard.

"For me it is pornography. I think they are going too far," she said.

But the young South African artist is not critical. For her, the essential thing is the defying of..

Any guesses?

...the patriarchal culture of her country. "You do not often hear the men speaking of their intimate parts and saying that they are disgusting, or shameful," but women often have shame, she says.

"And that, still, that says a great deal on the fashion in which we teach our children to think about their bodies."

She has dedicated years of research to the Hindu goddess Kali, whom she considers a symbol of defiance.

Indiana Jones just emailed me to say "She's kinda right, I guess."

She was shocked by the critics and the accusations of blasphemy which were thrown at her, notably by the Hindus, who make up an large community in South Africa.

Mm. Shocked.

Actually she should be shocked. Who the hell hasn't seen this thirty times already?

The visitor, for entering the vagina, is asked to take off his shoes.

I think I dated this girl.

"In taking off your shoes, you show that you respect it [the vagina], that you are [entering] a divine space, a sacred space," she insisted...

Well check out Little Miss Conceited About Her Holy Box over here.

... expressing the hope that her work, in its way, would make a contribution to the battle against...

Any guesses?

... rape, a virulent social evil in South Africa.

The Washington Post Editorial Offices just called to say, "Eh."

Close to 65,000 rates are officially reported each year in the country, one of the highest rates in the world. In a [climate of] relative indifference.

"Gender Links" ("Liens entre les sexes"), an association for fighting for male/female equality in South Africa, thanked Resma Chhiba for her work, and for gifting the world with yet another fucking giant Vagina Puppet.

It was actually something like "offering a new occasion to discuss to what remains a secondary issue in South Africa."

"This takes the private domain into the public sphere, the body of the woman is not necessarily a private affair [???]," said Kubi Ram, the president of Gender Links.

I would guess I mistranslated that but they do say crazy things like this. Frankly that sounds like something the rapist would say.

Incidentally, the person who created the ten billionth Giant Vagina believes herself to share an occupation with Rembrandt and Goya.

Okay now an English report:


digg this
posted by Ace at 05:44 PM

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