A 19th-century statue of Queen Victoria in Bristol’s College Green made the news this week after it was given an undressing by a feminist street artist whose trademark is to draw female genitalia on buildings and monuments.
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A female artist who goes by the name of Vaj Graff claimed responsibility for the act, stating that she was making a statement about the “male-dominated” art world. Thanks to Graff, Queen Victoria had — for a short time at least, as it didn’t take long for Bristol Council to scrub it off — her naked legs, private parts and pubic hair on show, and it’s provoked quite a reaction.
It was first revealed on Twitter by user @BertramFiddle, who posted a picture of the defaced statue with the caption, “Some idiot has drawn ladybits on the Queen Victoria statue on College Green @BristolPost Done in broad daylight!”
Some idiot has drawn ladybits on the Queen Victoria statue on College Green @BristolPost Done in broad daylight! pic.twitter.com/Tq67kgHOlF
— Bertram Fiddle – Is indifferent to Christmas (@BertramFiddle) January 7, 2016
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Vaj Graff, who describes herself on Twitter as an “original feminist street artist” and her latest statement as “A Vaj for Her Maj”, posted on her blog: “QUEEN VIC was an OF. An Original Feminist. So I wanted to show her in all her glory.”
“A lot of haters out there are calling it VANDALISM,” she continued. “It aint (sic) vandalism. It’s a statement. STAND TALL. STAND PROUD AND LOVE THE VAJ.”
The photograph has been retweeted more than 300 times, with Twitter users getting involved in the debate. Some were disgusted by what they saw as nothing more than an act of vandalism:
@BertramFiddle @Louiestowell Yup! I don't think slapping a fanny on something equals empowerment. Especially on Victoria, lol.
— Emma Reynolds 🐱 (@EmmaIllustrate) January 8, 2016
@BertramFiddle @BristolPost Shocking!? Pretty sure you could get hung for this kinda thing 100 years ago…
— MonsterAndMonster (@BaronVonMonster) January 7, 2016
However, just as many people found it amusing, the perfect way to draw attention to misogyny in art, or, quite simply, “great”:
@BertramFiddle @VajGraff And having the female body censored in classical art teaches girls to be ashamed of their bodies.
— GONZO INDUSTRIAL (@thenickgonzo) January 8, 2016
@bintykins @VajGraff @BBCBristol I think it looks great. So many men offended by a bit of muff
— Emily B. Owen (@TomboyPrincess) January 8, 2016
In typical Twitter spat fashion, there’s now a petition calling for an apology from Vaj Graff “for defacing the Queen’s statue in Bristol”. Something tells us that won’t be forthcoming no matter how many signatures it gets. Oh, and there’s a counter-petition from a supporter of the artist, entitled “Bring Back the Vaj“.
Let us know your thoughts on “A Vaj for Her Maj” below.
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