The Vagina Dialogues: The 33-meter artwork in Brazil draws the ire of the far right

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Juliana Notari’s hillside sculpture sparks conflict between Bolsonaro backers and leftist cultural group

On Saturday, visual artist Juliana Notari unveiled the handmade sculpture, named Diva, at a rural art park on the site of a former sugar mill in Pernambuco, one of the most culturally vibrant states in Brazil. In a Facebook post, Notari said that the scarlet vulva on the hillside was intended to “question the relationship between nature and culture in our phallocentric and anthropocentric Western society” and provoke discussion about the “gender problem.” This statement was instantly confirmed by the angry and sometimes obscene reactions to the art of Notari, as thousands of critics – many of them apparently Bo. One of the more restrained commentators wrote, aside from the useful idiots of the left, of course, and Bolsonaro’s U.S.-based political guru, skilled polemicist Olavo de Carvalho, chimed in with a normally foul-mouthed tweet.

Many replied more favorably to the resin-covered sculpture of Notari, which took 11 months to create. “In this piece, there’s a lot to think about,” celebrated trans cartoonist Laerte Coutinho tweeted, and another fan wrote, “I love it!” An intimate part of us with such beauty has been exposed. Kleber Mendonça Filho, a Pernambuco film producer, praised Notari for reacting with a giant vagina to such a conservative moment in Brazilian history. He tweeted, “The reactions to your work are a mirror [of society], a success,” Bolsonaro has regularly denigrated culture and depicted artists since taking office in 2019, several of whom condemn his administration, as decadent freeloaders milking public funds to peddle communist garbage.

Last year, a number of renowned musicians, many from Covid-19, died, and Bolsonaro replied with silence.

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