Meet Jamie McCartney, the Artist Who Wants to Cast Vaginas in Every Country in the World
The British artist also wants a set of vagina casts from each of the 50 states.
In 2008, British artist Jamie McCartney cast over 400 women’s genitalia in plaster of Paris for his artwork The Great Wall of Vagina. Due to popular demand, he kept going.
His next project, Mondcivitano (which means “world citizen” is Esperanto) will aim to cast women’s genitalia from every single country in the world. He will later produce a United States-focused piece featuring one woman cast from every state.
“Scarcely a week goes by when someone doesn’t ask to get involved,” he told the Independent.
The 30-foot sculpture, which is broken into ten panels, has been exhibited at the Brighton Fringe Festival, London’s Hay Hill Gallery, and La Triennale di Milano. McCartney says he’d love to see it join the permanent collection at someplace like the Tate Modern.
“It was really important that nobody got paid to model for me, ” he said. “That might be really unfair but a man who pays 400 women to get their vagina out is not nearly as interesting as 400 women endorsing the project and believing in it enough to do it.”
The sculptor, who admits that he “didn’t go to art school to cast people’s private parts,” was originally inspired by the rise of cosmetic procedures that dictate how a woman should look—not just in terms of her face or her figure, but even in her most intimate areas. He refers to it as “body fascism.”
“The vagina became this whole new place to shame women around, because there’s money to be made in shaming people,” he says. “There’s a whole industry base set up to persuade women they’re defective.”
Before creating The Great Wall of Vagina, McCartney enacted a similar project using male genitalia. He was commissioned by the now-defunct Amora Academy of Sex and Relationships in London to cast 17 men’s penises—including his own. He describes it as a liberating exercise.
“Having only had pornography as a reference before, the result was like getting a weight off my shoulders,” he says.
Despite the fact that he’s already cast identical twins, transgender individuals, pre- and postnatal women and pre- and post-labiaplasty patients, for Mondcivitano, McCartney is looking for an even wider anatomical and aesthetic range than in his prior projects—one that truly represents the diversity of the world. For example, he would like to find a volunteer who has undergone female genital mutilation/cutting, but that has proven difficult thus far.
As the artist’s website proclaims, “It’s not vulgar, it’s vulva!”
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