Artist Sophia Wallace presents Cliteracy. It's time to spread clitoral language.
Sophia Wallace is a Brooklyn-based conceptual artist and photographer. Through mixed media, images and video, her work looks at constructions of gender, race and sex. Her most recent work, CLITERACY, was a multimedia project that included street art, wearable art, sculpture, a "Clit Rodeo" and more.
CLITERACY is a mixed media series that explores a paradox – the global obsession with sexualizing female bodies in a world that is illiterate when it comes to female sexuality. The complete anatomy of the clitoris was only discovered 1998 and is almost universally unknown to this day. Female genitals are still considered taboo.
In everyday parlance, to speak of female genitals is impolite, if not shameful.
When people think of female genitals, they think of small, they think of flowers. They don't think of it as a subject that is monumental.
I want to connect these ideas of female bodies and genitals ... with ... citizenship, and having pleasure. This idea – that we can fight for freedom from violence and reproductive justice without fighting for pleasure – is a fallacy.
I want people to be able to use the art in the world to defend their bodies and their right to exist – to not just be a receptacle of shame and taboo.
It can't just be stuck in the white walls of the gallery, I want it to be part of the lexicon.
Part of the project is also about using the language of CLITERACY in everyday life, right?
Anyone can use the clitoral language. I was in the eye of the clit storm. I live in New York Clity.
There's a small group of people that have institutional power, and the decisions reflect their experiences and what makes them amused.
We are effectively locked out of museums and institutions. If you're not part of this elite pedigree of MFAs and dinner parties ... there's just so much space for dirty dealings.
This is not about wanting literal numbers for equal representation - though it's that too. We want our creativity and contributions to be a part of the history of art. And that's for all of society.
This [action at the Whitney], though, is the first action of many. I want to do something around white supremacy in a museum, because it's so overwhelming. The numbers of women and people of color that graduate from art school is so much higher than ever appear anywhere, and it's up to institutions to explain why it's only white men's work that they find merit in.
They are creating our present day history of what is the meaningful art of our time.
I will … be hosting a game "Put A CLIT on It". Participants will be given a CLIT to take selfies with as they CLITdazzle the Whitney. All who value meritocracy in the art world are invited to join me. #CLITdazzle #PutaCLITonit #CLITifytheWorld #CLITitstarted. [emphasis in orange mine]