'Diva', a controvertial sculpture in Brazil. Photo from Facebook: Juliana Notari
'Diva' has become a controversial sculpture in Brazil. Photo: Juliana Notari/Facebook

Diva', the giant, vagina-shaped sculpture in Brazil that angered the country's conservatives

Visual artist Juliana Notari generated major controversy between liberals and conservatives in Brazil with a giant sculpture in the shape of a vagina.


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Juliana Notari recently installed a 33-meter sculpture in the shape of a vagina made of concrete and resin that was carved by more than 20 men. It's location at a former sugar mill in the state of Pernambuco has now become an open-air museum of contemporary art.

The reactions in social media were expected. Although many people support and compliment the artist's work, many others were angered and criticized the sculpture as being vulgar or in bad taste.

Most of the criticism fell in line with common conservative ideals of those who do not mind a woman's body when it is an object of consumption and pleasure (for them).

A Bolsonaro sympathizer, Olavo de Carvalho, proposed on Twitter "to create a sculpture of a giant penis as a challenge" and his post attracted almost 700 retweets, many of them loaded with open criticism against the leftists.

The concept of 'Diva' is quite powerful, at first sight, the sculpture is a giant vagina and brings forth moral challenges from the most conservative viewers. 

But from another perspective, it is seen as a wound in the Earth, the mother and source of everything.

"In 'Diva,' I use art to dialogue with issues that refer to the antagonizing of gender from a female perspective allied to a worldview that questions the relationship between nature and culture in our phallocentric and anthropocentric western society," explained the artist on her Facebook account.

In Bolsonaro's highly sexist Brazil, Notari's work is challenging because of its symbolic content. 

"This wound (the work) is, however, infinitely less in comparison with the traumas of slavery, unprotected employment, ecocide and violent traumas that occurred in this Usina, as in other private colonial properties," she explained in an interview for CNN




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