There we were, minding our own business as we stared out into the dark abyss of our lockdown melancholy, when we were most unexpectedly interrupted by the discovery of a 33m Vulva carved into the side of a hill in Brazil.
What a most welcome distraction!
A shining example of politically charged art inspiring passionate reactions; indignation, jubilation, conversation and reflection.
Juliana Notari’s “Diva”-16m wide, 6m deep and 33m long- seemingly appeared just in time, as President Bosonaro, responding to Argentinas decision to legalise abortion, declared to never approve abbortion in Brazil. As we write this a new POTUS is to be inaugurated today, and we celebrate the end of reign of at least one leader who has turned back time on the progression of human rights.
The bright red vulva appears almost violent, like a deep wound in the land. And so it should. The disintegration of human rights is an act of violence, so too is the division of equality, or the ripping out and burning of rainforests.
Notari is no stranger to controversial art. Her work often hinges somewhere between exploration, intrusion, and liberation. The works themselves juggling violence and vulnerability, often inspire extreme stomach-churning discomfort.
Take “Mimoso” (2014), where the artist is tied naked to a buffalo (due for castration), at the beach and dragged across the sand, before later witnessing said castration and then eating its freshly removed raw testicle. Although visually quite a violent act, she allowed her own vulnerability to be experienced first, by being dragged by the bull, before witnessing an act that is actually a very normal part of life, and ate flesh that would otherwise presumably have been wasted.
The news that art is also political discourse isn’t actually news to anyone, and more and more artists seem to be taking space in the political or activist sphere- but keeping an eye on what is being developed can only help in our understanding of current events.
Take a look at some your favourite artist-activists, and see what they’re up to currently, or how they fare in our rankings. There is a world of insight just waiting for you…