30-meter Concrete Vagina: A New Reason For Battles in Brazil
The art installation Diva on a hillside in northeastern Brazil has sparked a cultural scandal between conservative and leftist forces in the state. Particular disapproval of the new sculpture in the shape of a vagina was expressed by the country’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro.
The 108-foot structure was created by Brazilian artist Juliana Notari. In this way, the woman decided to show that in a society of anthropocentrism and phallocentric views, the connection between nature and culture raises more and more questions.
With her creation, the local artist challenged the current government and its conservative views, accusing the head of the country of chauvinism and sexism.
Also, with a new art object, Notary wanted to show her support for artists and national minorities. According to the craftswoman, the issues raised by her in the modern world occupy one of the leading positions, which the current government practically does not notice.
The new cultural exhibit was housed in a former sugar factory in the Usina del Arte Park in the state of Pernambuco. The sculpture itself is 33 meters long, its width reaches 16 meters, and its depth is 6. It took Julianne Notary about 11 months to create an innovative art exhibit. More than 20 people have worked on the artist’s project.
At the presentation of her installation, Notary emphasized that the goal was to symbolize the gap between the natural world and the culture of society, which erected a person on a pedestal as if he were the center of the entire universe. To do this, a local inventor carved a wound in the cavity of the female vagina as a symbol of a split in the social environment.
The work itself, seen from the open-air museum, looks quite bright and voluminous. More than 30 meters of the area occupied by a female genital organ shock those who see such installations for the first time.
In our modern society, it is these figures and art exhibits that make us think about the freedom of women and their equal rights with men.
And the bright red color only sharpens the attention of visitors to the art park on the “Diva”.
However, at the same time, massive cultural wars are kindled, all because part of a phallic-centered society cannot accept a woman as an equal representative of this society.
The huge figure of a woman’s vagina could not leave aside not only ordinary people but also the authorities, which are zealous and rather tough about such destinies of contemporary artists.
Crafted from resin and concrete and painted in vibrant colors, the installation continues to evoke reactions ranging from the most positive to the angriest.
So the photo from the presentation of her brainchild, published on Facebook by Julianne Notary, collected more than 25 thousand comments. Moreover, the reviews were completely different, someone criticized the activities of the artist, and someone idolized her.
So under the post with a bright red sculpture, you could find this:
“With all my respect for your work, I do not approve of this particular sculpture. I have little daughters and I often go out with them. Imagine if they notice an installation while walking and ask me what it is. What should I tell them?” one of the subscribers was indignant.
However, he almost immediately got a response from another commenter:
“Dear father of daughters, this is your great chance to tell your daughters that women have genitals and at the same time show them that this is not at all a shame, but is part of human nature.”
There were a lot of similar comments on the Notary’s wall. Also, real battles flared up between different layers and representatives of different cultures.
And Olavo de Carvalho, who is the current ideologue of the Jair Bolsonaro family, harshly criticized Notary’s post. The official said that instead of the sculpture of the vagina, it is worth putting a penis pedestal, thereby challenging the artist. His signatures under the photo Notary counted about 700 reposts.
It should be noted that the problem of illegal abortions remains urgent in Brazil. Since this procedure is prohibited at the official level. It was also bypassed during the presidential campaign.
Brazil’s abortion statistics remain terrifying. So, every four days two women die from an illegal abortion.
At the official level, abortion is allowed only in the event of rape or a threat to the life of a woman in labor. In other cases, women are simply denied this procedure.
Clandestine abortion clinics are one of the most unsafe black businesses out there. In addition to the fact that abortion costs Brazilian women a considerable amount ‒ about 2 thousand dollars, this procedure often leads to the death of a woman. There are a large number of cases when the workers of such clinics deliberately mutilate the patient’s body so that it is not clear that she died from this particular operation.
But despite such terrible information, about 80% of Brazilians still oppose abortion surgery. Associated with this is the religion and the values that they pursue. So, in the Catholic faith, which is one of the major for Brazilians, abortion is considered a sin and an offense, that is why most people under the control of religion do not change their minds.
Since it is taboo for the churches in the country, politicians are in no hurry to make changes. So in the presidential elections, the candidates did not mention such an urgent issue, allegedly so as not to anger all branches of religion and not lead society to protests.
That is why, to avoid such a ban, a part of Brazilian women leave for neighboring Argentina, where this issue is not so acute and is resolved.
It is also worth noting that this is not the first time the incumbent president has criticized contemporary art projects. So, back in 2019, he tried to stop funding for films about gays and lesbians. However, these attempts were ineffective.
And in March last year, journalists even accused Jair Bolsonaro of misogyny and sexism. This statement was made public by the National Federation of Journalists of the country due to the incorrect statements of the head of Brazil towards journalists. Then Bolsonaro announced the girls in sex work in exchange for top news for his articles. After such words about women in social networks, a real battle broke out in their support and at the same time against the policy of the authorities.
No wonder what caused such a violent and unpleasant reaction from the president.
After all, one of the girls, which was criticized by the president, declared libel in the news, which was dedicated to opponents of Bolsonaro during the elections in 2018. And the second girl released information that the president was campaigning for everyone to march on March 15 against the Supreme Court and Congress. Undoubtedly, the authorities did not appreciate such sharp news, and such harsh words were likely a way to humiliate the dignity of the media representatives and an attempt to slander them.
However, this did not work out for the head of the country. Since attacking the journalists, he did it at the same time with all other women, showing his machismo, disrespect, sexism towards all Brazilian citizens. Having violated all the limits of decency, the president nevertheless answered for his words with a loud resonance of this story.
Moreover, this is not the only thing that happened to Jair Bolsonaro. Before that, he repeatedly called the media representatives immoral, dirty, vulgar.
According to research, the Brazilian president is involved in 60% of attacks on the media according to statistics in past years.
Besides, thousands of women from all over the country took to the march against the then-presidential candidate Bolsonaro. Their main slogan was the phrase: “Not he!” They openly did not want to see him as their president and called him a homophobe and a hater of women.
Also, many remember the phrase that Bolsonaro said to a woman politician that “she is not even worthy to be raped”. Of course, such statements by the president are not only tactless but also cause fear and at the same time contempt for the highest person of the state.
Despite this, Jair Bolsonaro continues to rule Brazil and receive support from other parts of the population, which considers his actions and deeds to be harmless. It should be noted that he receives the greatest support from the religious strata of the population, evangelicals, and Catholics.
Why he has so much support remains a mystery.