Vagina Festival 2008
In October 2008, we produced the second Vagina Festival. This time in a 99-seat theater in midtown Manhattan. The first was in an art gallery in the East Village. It didn’t mean that vaginas, and our relationships with them, were now a normal thing to talk about.
We were required to include this disclaimer in our materials:
Similarly, an ad I placed in Facebook for the normal is diverse exhibition of vagina vérité was disapproved, based on the assumption that it included explicit sexual content. (I used the word vagina).
It’s been a couple of days and I haven’t heard back yet on my appeal. I wonder how it would have gone if I’d used cunt, pussy or some other name.
So, Vagina Festival was a weekend-long experience. The artist roster is below, along with the exhibition statement and program.
The VF08 visual art exhibition, Wimodaughsis, was curated by Rose Merola. It brought together fifteen visual artists, exploring women’s treatment in civilization. In her words, “The aim of the Vagina Festival Art Exhibition is to highlight the experiences of women, which are rich, varied, joyous, as well as trying. (In this election year, we have seen the almost nomination of a female president, which indicates that nearly 90 years later after women fought for the right to vote, the struggle for equality and respect remains.) The point is not to be reductive: it is not us vs. them, or women vs. men. We, all of us, are in this together. The Vagina Festival is the brainchild of Alexandra Jacoby, an articulate Feminist, and a labor of love by all the women and men who have made it possible. In the spirit of continual striving for dialogue, understanding, and seeing things from a different perspective, we welcome you to consider and enjoy the works of the artists and (recognize/ honor/acknowledge) all of our “wimodaughsis” (wives, mothers, daughters and sisters), as coined by the black feminist, Anna Julia Cooper….” Read the complete wimodaughsis Exhibition Statement.
Grimanesa Amoros, Shawna Dempsey & Lorri Millan, Fiona Dent, Stephanie Dinkins, Christine Gedeon, Hillary Harvey, Owen Harvey, Alexandra Jacoby, Jill Kerwick, Jenny Laden, Zoe Markwalter, Dixon Stetler, Simone Stoll, Fahimeh Vahdat.
Curated by Kathleen Adams, the VF08 program included dance, spoken word, poetry, music, comedy, full-length plays, performance art, and interactive experiences,
Amina Heckstall, Bless Roxwell, Caitlin Meissner, catherine owen, elicia Gonzales, Honey Larochelle, Jessica Delfino, Jessica Hinds, JoiLynn Productions, Karen Moe, Karen B. Song, Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai, Lauren Mitchell, Lindsay Shields, Liz Chestang, Mercedes Ilarraza, Nicole Pandolfo, Nikki “DJ NIKKI Lopez, Shayna SITY Israel, Franchise, Priscilla Taylor, Randi Sinnreich, Suzanne Harvin, the real kim harmon, U-Meleni Mhlaba, The Voices of Women Organizing Project (VOW), YaliniDream, and Yolanda Shoshana (Shoshi), our Mistress of Ceremonies.