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The Great Wall of Vagina (NSFW)

The long-awaited gallery premiere of The Great Wall Of Vagina has finally happened. We know you’ve been waiting a long time for this. Haven’t you?

OK, us neither. Still, it’s pretty interesting. The Great Wall Of Vagina is a creation made by UK sculptor Jamie McCartney and first began as a more modest project called Design A Vagina, something the author described as “an exploration of women’s relationships with their genitals”.

Jokes aside (tricky!), he says it was motivated by the rise in genital cosmetic surgery among women who rarely have any basis of comparison when it comes to their genitals. He then expanded it to include 400 individual casts of vaginas (the vulva area to be exact) which were displayed on a wall at the Brighton Festival Fringe and are now being shown at the Hay Hill Gallery in London. Here we go:

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There really is no better person to explain this project than the artist himself who says on his website:

Vulva Sculptor James McCartney

“For this, my latest major sculpture, I cast, over the course of 5 years, the vaginas (well the vulva area in fact) of hundreds of volunteers. The Great Wall of Vagina is an exploration of women’s relationships with their genitals.

“Why did I do it and what’s it all about?” I hear you ask. Well, vulvas and labia are as different as a faces and many people, particularly women, don’t seem to know that. Men tend to have seen more than women, who have often only seen their own, and many have never looked that closely.

The sculpture comments on the trend for surgery to create the ‘perfect’ vagina. This modern day equivalent of female genital mutilation is a bizarre practice which suggests that one is better than another. Taste in nothing is universal and any desire for ‘homogyny’ could be very misguided.

360 casts arranged in this manner is in no way pornographic, as it might have been if photographs had been used. One is able to stare without shame but in wonder and amazement at this exposé of human variety.

Included are examples of male to female and female to male transsexuals, a virgin, a porn star and some women with some elaborate piercings.

Remember the post we shared about the very not-safe-for-work requirement of vaginas to be digitally altered under Australian law? That’s what Jamie’s artwork is all about. Showing the individuality of the vagina from ages 18 through to 76.

There’s artistic merit here in that Jamie says vaginas from around the world have cultural nuances. A vagina in Asia is not the same as a vagina in Europe and so on. They’re vaginas, but they’re not the same.

Watch a little behind the scenes of the whole vagina casting here:

Any questions? Yes? Oh, well here are Jamie’s frequently asked:

A Labia Of Love

Who does the casting?
I take all the body moulds myself.

How does it work?
I apply the moulding materials to your vulva, it sets in about a minute and then I remove it and pour plaster into this mould to make the finished cast.

How long does it take?
It only takes about five minutes, it’s very quick.

Do I have to be shaved?
No not necessarily. Hair produces less good results so a close trim is better than the full bush! Shaving does produce the best results but it really is up to you.

Does it hurt?

Not at all. Most people describe it as an unusual or interesting sensation, bordering on pleasant!

What do you use?
I use a material called alginate. It is a seaweed based powder that when mixed with water sets into a rubber in about a minute.

Is it safe?
Alginate is designed to be used inside the mouth by dentists and is completely skin safe.

Do you pay?
No, it’s voluntary. I want people to do it who like the concept.

So. Any thoughts? Do you think it’s important for women to know what other women look like?

Tags: sex
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