I was very happy to be back in Montreal after my first visit there around 6.5 years earlier. At that time I was enjoying record snow falls not seen in 50 years, this time it was spring! :)
May curious passers-by walked in since the gallery had window frontage onto a semi-busy street.
I was very happy to have a sexologist Josée Leboeuf, B.A., M.A. come and speak at the opening night :)
A couple of days before the opening I was interviewed by a new quarterly women’s mag, Magazine Muses, and they got an article online the next day.
And now, a week after the exhibition there closed a review come out in LaPresse, one of the largest newspapers in Montreal :)
On top of that, on the last day of the exhibition a TV station came in to record for one of their episodes. It’s a new series which follows a man and a woman (they are stars in Montreal apparently) who explore various aspects of sexuality. That episode was about the body. Was great to be a part of it and I’m really looking forward to the outcome.
Last but not least I have to say that the gallery owners of Le repaire des 100 talents, Luc and Adeleine, were very gracious and supportive hosts. I’m very grateful for all their support.
And here’s a few photos as usual :)
Yesterday I was interviewed by Josiane of Magazine Muses. They are a new French quarterly print publication for women distributed mainly in Quebec province.
Today they posted the article online and I used an online translation app to help me read it; Josiane’s English is much better than my French. It must be difficult for journalists to condense a conversation down into an article. We spoke about many related things and it was from her that I learned that there is no longer any dedicated sex education in French speaking schools in Montreal (she didn’t know about the English speaking schools). I was stunned!
I thought there was a global trend towards better, more comprehensive sex education, so to hear that a place as progressive as Montreal was going backwards in this field was disturbing. But that’s another story!
Below is her story about 101 Vagina.
The opening night of the 101 Vagina Exhibition and Book Launch at Laguna Gallery of Contemporary Art was huge.
It helped that the first Thursday of the month is Laguna Beach Art Walk. It meant that a lot of people came through who otherwise would never have come in contact with it.
In particular I was really happy to see many older ladies come through the exhibition, as well as young men. We so commonly assume older ladies to be conservative and prudish and we assume young men to not give a shit about women’s issues. That judgement doesn’t serve us.
The broad appeal of the exhibition was also aided by having had front page coverage in the Coastline Pilot, Laguna Beache’s local paper published by the LA Times.
Interview with Lynda & Diann.
“It’s very educational and very interesting”
Ah, San Francisco !
I had wanted SF to be the first city I visited in the tour, it being the beacon of all things sexually progressive in the USA, but the simple reality of gallery availability meant that this came after LA.
Sexuality Educator Lenae St.John come in and give her perspective on the issue, and while in SF I managed to get a bunch of books to the Good Vibrations stores which I was really happy about.
There was also space in the gallery for a vagina crafternoon table and for another artist’s vagina art, which for me was the highlight of the exhibition there. People’s creativity continues to blow me away :)
So, here’s a few images of the exhibition.
I was honoured by Dr Berta Davis’ attendance at the L.A. launch of the 101 Vagina book on 5th April 2014. A couple of days later I caught up with her for an interview.
Dr Davis speaks about the 101 Vagina book from her perspective of having been a Sex Therapist for 30 years, clinical psychologist for 35 years, and currently running the couple and sex therapy training program at UCLA.
“I think the book is doing something that no other piece of literature has done … to have been able to capture the aesthetics of femininity as well as the personal narrative.”
Berta has a charming, positive, kind and humble presence and it was a great pleasure and honour to meet with her and receive such a strong endorsement of the 101 Vagina book.
Often in today’s culture we seem to value pop psychology, bombastic claims and numbers of followers over simple, humble experience gained over many years of dedicated work. Dr Davis stands as a great testament to the value of the latter!
See Dr Davis’ website here: http://bertadavis.com
Recorded 7th April 2014 at Dr Davis’ office in Encino, CA.
Gave a book away to a woman who just sat and cried in front of one of the photos and stories.
Whoever you are, I made this book for you!
This is why I created this project. There is so much healing needed around these issues, and every time I exhibit I see people being moved, being touched, and having their hearts and minds opened.
At the opening here in San Francisco there was a small group of boisterous young men present. They were not disrespectful but hadn’t yet engaged with the stories. They asked which one to read and I pointed them straight to the woman who’d been on the verge of cutting her own labia with a pair of scissors as a teenager.
Like everyone else they became absorbed in the ocean of emotion and feeling expressed in the stories.
It is a complex set of issues and emotions to find yourself confronted with. I have the sense that the lighter stories and funny quips actually do a lot to open people to the deeper and darker stories and experiences. If all the messages were ones of trauma people would perhaps keep some sort of guard up, to prevent themselves from feeling overwhelmed. And if it was only light and funny, people would dismiss it as too superficial.
But because trauma is interspersed with laughter and joy, the same way life is, people remain open and unable to either dismiss the lighter side, nor guard against the darker.
Again and again I see how powerful this work is.
Great article by David Hansen about the 101 Vagina exhibition that will be at Laguna Beach from 1-8 May, 2014.
David and I spoke at length about the project and related issues. It was interesting for me that he was surprised that this was still an issue. As he reflects in the article, he had thought that all this was dealt with in the sexual and feminist revolutions of the 60′s and 70′s . But if that was the case then why are the numbers of women seeking out labiaplasty (genital cosmetic surgery) skyrocketing?
There is also a lot of discussion in the media about rape culture. How could rape culture exist if we were all truly comfortable with our, and other people’s, sexuality? This is a huge issue, and until we deal with the underlying sexual repression and suppression, we won’t get anywhere near getting rid of sexual abuse in our society.
So, yes, this issue has not nearly gone away.
Click this link to read the full article: