This socially engaged art project started in 2018 and will be exhibited in 2021. It looks at new ways of representing the vulva through a positive sociopolitical lens. Showing that vulvas, like our faces are different and normal. It is my social response to the increasing number of young woman undergoing labia surgery around the world and the incorrect labelling of the vulva, commonly referred to and known as the vagina. I would like to revive the vulva by bringing positive awareness to female genitalia in which the vulva is normalised, fully revealed and celebrated. Inspired by British sculptor, Jamie McCartney's Vagina Wall (2011), my project consists of casting vulvas of women from various backgrounds and age.
I see the body as a ‘vehicle’ that we use for our human experience taking into account French philosopher, René Descartes' (1649) ideas on mind/body dualism and Joel Goldsmith (1954) spiritual views on the body. They saw the body as having no will of its own, no intelligence of its own and no action of its own. It is one’s Consciousness that moves the body. The body does not move on its own free will. Which makes one question is our Consciousness in our body or is our body in our Consciousness?
The work traverses the notion of the absurd and nonsensical as a platform to engage the audience. It focuses on the physicality of the body through interacting with the ramifications of new forms, which emerge within the context of the surrealism. Humour allows the audience to easily engage with the artwork by taking away the awkwardness of publicly looking at female nude body parts, like the vulva. It can disrupt their perceived ideas and in a split second, draw the viewer in or allow something else to come out from within.
The work consists of twenty vulva cast wearable brooches that resemble racing cars. I fabricated a spoiler and attached rubber toy wheels to create a juxtaposition of materials; precious vs non precious and a child’s toy vs a treasured jewellery piece. They will be exhibited on a grand prix racetrack model in shape of a vulva. The aim is to have the audience ‘play’ with the brooches on the track/try them on, physically engage with the artwork.
NRK's 'Innafor' program series recently did a documentary called 'Fix Me' interviewing women from Oslo who thought their vulva was abnormal and opting for surgery to 'fix it'. But who decides what a normal vulva looks like? The surgeon, social media, the adult film industry or one's partner? Or maybe there is no such thing as a 'normal' vulva. I also think the idea of vulva racing car brooches on a model grand prix racing track would attract the curiosity of the public, regardless of gender.