Art installation with 33 meter vulva generates controversy in Brazil


Juliana Notari in selfie next to her installation

An artistic installation in the form of a huge vulva is generating controversy in Brazil. While several criticize the project that took 11 months to complete, others celebrate it.

It took 11 months for the Brazilian Juliana Notari's artistic project to be completed - and a few days for the controversy to reach the international press, including the British The Guardian. The huge excavation in the shape of a "vulva / wound" 33 meters high, 16 wide and another six deep, called "Diva", is at the center of a heated debate that is dividing politics and society.

The art installation was unveiled on Saturday in a rural art park in Pernambuco. On Facebook, the artist published a long text explaining that more than 20 men were needed to complete the project and that “Diva” intends to explain issues that refer to “the problematization of gender from a female perspective” and that she intends to also to question the relationship “between nature and culture in our Western phallocentric and anthropocentric society”, themes that have “become increasingly urgent”.

It is in this same publication that comments of displeasure are found, with some reactions even “obscene”. Thousands of critics - most of whom The Guardian associates with supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro - invaded the artist's page angrily, such as “Who do you leftists think you are kidding? Besides useful idiots on the left, of course ”.

This was not, however, the only publication that gave rise to negative comments: even before 2020 ended, the artist published on social media photographs alluding to the project, one of herself in the company of some of the 20 men who helped her build the installation artistic, all of them black. The image brought up racial issues from the water. To Folha de S. Paulo, the artist explains that she was in harmony with the team, although she understands how the image can be interpreted: “I, the team, were in harmony, but when you see the image, it really shows the difference in classes. (…) The image goes beyond the field of art and enters the context of what Brazil is ”.

In addition to the social and racial context, there were those who also accused the work of being transphobic - there are criticisms that point out that not all women have a vagina -, who questioned the need to spend money on projects related to feminist art, instead of social projects , and whoever focused on the environmental issue. But while some question the art of Juliana Notari, others celebrate it: the truth is that the publication accumulates more than 25 thousand comments and has already been shared more than 13 thousand times. To Correio Braziliense, the artist also comments that she will consider constructive criticism in the next works.