I chose to make ceramic pieces which look like folded cloth but also resembles the vagina. I chose to create ceramic vagina’s to bring the domestic, the feminine and the objectification of the female form together.
The use of the vagina is not to create a sexual piece but to create something that all females can relate to.
Body image is something that I have struggled with and it is becoming a common problem in todays society to try and change what we look like to please others or so we can imitate what others look like, this is shown in the way I make the sheets of rolled out ceramic imitate fabric.
In their minds it is obvious that women are only allowed to have sex when her husband wants to, it is not for the women’s pleasure, but the mans. It is seen that their daughters shouldn’t be sexually stimulated, this mutilation leaves them pure as they cannot condemn to their sexual urges.
Women are still being seen as an object for a mans pleasure, women have their own right to do what they want with their own bodies, men and parents, in my opinion don’t have the right to take this away from women.
In some of my vaginal pieces I will be highlighting Female Genital Mutilation by adding pins and thread, physically showing the viewer the trauma girls in some countries go through to control what we would think to be normal human urges.
In the last series of Call The Midwife there was an episode where they tackled Female Genital Mutilation. I found parts of the episode disturbing, but it is something that women today are still tackling.
I am interested in body image and social norms to do with gender equality, how can a country where women do not have the right to choose how they control their sexual urges have equal rights. Men are no superior than women, and therefore women should get the same rights as mee, especially on their sexuality.
The starting point for this body of work was the female form which has progressed into looking specifically at the vagina. The materials in which I have worked with reference traditionally feminine duties within the domestic space as well as crafts which would usually serve a functional purpose.
1970’s feminist artists, such as Hannah Wilke and Louise Bourgeois’ works were propaganda for gender equality and this is something that has influenced my recent work. I became more interested in looking at gender equality when reading news items about women’s rights being effected.
Specific works which have influenced my own practice include: Hannah Wilke’s San Antonio Rose (1966), Laundry Lint (1973), Sweet Sixteen (1978), Louise Bourgeois’ Janus Fleuri (1968) and Jennifer Ling Datchuk’s Tie (2008).
The remarks made by this polish MEP about women is one of the reasons why I wanted to make this work. There are still a huge number of men who think little of women or still believe women to be to their disposal.
I automatically think of Freud’s theory of penis envy when I read about men who still think they are better than women. We should not be seen to be any weaker simply because we do not have a penis.
I am interested in Wilkes use of domestic materials; Clay, Fabric to create sculptures but also using unconventional materials like chewing gum to create synthetic vaginas.
Laundry lint and others of similar nature have a vulnerability and fragility about them – They are also enticingly beautiful, the opposite to how they are thought of.
There’s almost a juxtaposition of the two materials – organic and synthetic. Crossing the materials, kneaded eraser is synthetic but is used to create organic looking pieces. There is a strength in the synthetic materials chosen – they cannot be destroyed easily.
Her vaginal forms are never ugly looking, they don’t repel you. They almost make you want to look closer or even touch them. She’s creating a positive outlook for something that is thought of as ugly and should repel you.
Using malleable (easily manipulated) materials such as chewing gum – relates to cultural notations of femininity. How men think of women is determined by what other men think or how they were brought up, the same happens in politics etc. Women are easily manipulated because of this power men think they have over us.
The materials she uses and the way she uses them are easily manipulated to create the forms she wants. She is specifically manipulating the materials to represent the manipulation of women.