Feminist Street Artist Draws Genitals on Queen Victoria Monument

She claims it's a statement on the male-dominated art world.

Street artist Vaj Graff made some additions to Bristol's monument to Queen Victoria. Photo: Grapevine Consulting (@grapevineconsulting) via Instagram
Street artist Vaj Graff made some additions to Bristol's monument to Queen Victoria. Photo: Grapevine Consulting (@grapevineconsulting) via Instagram

A feminist street artist has provoked fury in England by defacing a 19th-century statue of Queen Victoria in Bristol. The artist, who goes by the name of Vaj Graff, painted naked legs and pubic hair on the stone monument.

The historically significant monument was commissioned in 1887 and unveiled on the 50th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s reign to mark the Golden Jubilee of Britain’s second longest reigning monarch.

However, the artist insists that her intervention was a statement on patriarchal structures in the art world. Striking back at critics on her website, she writes, “A lot of haters out there calling it vandalism. It ain’t vandalism. It’s a statement. Stand tall. Stand proud and love the vaj.”

Justifying her actions, she added, “Queen Vic was an O.F. An original feminist. So I wanted to show her in all her glory.”

Speaking to the Bristol Post, she explained “The art world is male dominated. Fact. Street art is male dominated. Fact. So I’ve got to represent. I’ve got to redress the balance.”

“If Banksy’s allowed to paint a naked man hanging out a window of a sex clinic, then why can’t Queen Vic be seen in all her glory,” she went on, lamenting the gender imbalance in the street art scene. “Bristol loves shouting about street art but when it comes to something real with a real message it can’t handle it,” she said, referring to Banksy’s nearby painting.

Meanwhile, on social media opinions were split. Twitter user Dani Abram tweeted “There is a NAKED MAN opposite and that is art but if it’s a women!? Get out.”

Others commented on her drawing skills:

The artist insisted that “Queen Vic was a power woman. She was the original feminist and she was proud. All I did was show her how she wanted to be seen. What’s so offensive about that?”

But can Queen Victoria really be referred to as a feminist? Considering the appalling social conditions and lack of sovereignty that women endured in the Victorian era, Vaj’s intervention seems misguided.


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