A COMMUNITY arts event is facing criticism after children were encouraged to crawl into the vagina of a giant statue in Geelong’s Johnstone Park at the weekend.
Geelong teacher Terry Read took his four year old son to the Figment arts festival on Saturday and was not impressed with what he found.
The first installation the pair stepped into was a giant red teepee.
Inside the tent were “dozens” of paintings of vaginas. A short while later they found a large statue of a naked women with legs spread and a red cloth crawling tunnel for children between her legs.
Mr Read said he was not personally offended by the art, but thought it was inappropriate for an event promoted as all-ages and family-friendly.
“I’m no prude, I just think it was pretty inappropriate,” said Mr Read, who teaches at a Geelong primary school.
“To my mind, it (the event) was a celebration of the female anatomy, which is fine, but that was never alluded to in advance; it was hardly appropriate for a four-year-old.
“It (the large statue) looked fairly innocent from behind, it was only when you walked around the front that you realised the crawling tunnel was a huge vagina.
“It was clearly designed and purpose-built for children.
“My son is only young, so he didn’t really understand what it was about or ask any questions, but I’m sure it would’ve been very different if he’d been eight or 10.
Event organiser Miriam Fathalla told the Geelong Advertiser she had not heard any complaints about the festival, estimating that 400-500 people attended.
“We didn’t have anybody say anything to us, and I was there the whole weekend. We (the organisers) were all identifiable in bright pink T-shirts and I didn’t hear any complaints,” she said.
“I think we had a really great weekend with the whole community; lots of people came down and had a good time.”
Mr Read questioned whether the festival was appropriate for its location.
“It’s an open space right in the centre of our city. It wasn’t like it was fenced off or in a gallery,” he said.
“We’re talking about an iconic park in the middle of town, where we display the city’s cenotaph. You have to ask whether that’s an appropriate use of public space.”
via Bernie Glynn