Brighton artist Jamie McCartney has donated a framed print of his Great Wall of Vagina sculpture to help patients at a sexual health clinic see what “normal” looks like.
The original sculpture consists of plaster casts of 400 women’s vulvas set in 10 panels.
Mr McCartney handed over the print – and an accompanying book – to matron Anita Weston and clinical support worker Lisa Taylor at the Brighton and Hove Sexual Health and Contraception Service.
The Sexual Health and Contraception (SHAC) team in Brighton will use the visual aids to help overcome female patients’ embarrassment and awkwardness about their bodies.
Anita Weston said: “There is so much stigma around the female anatomy and many of our patients have real misconceptions and often negative self-perceptions about their bodies and how their vulva should look.
“One patient even told me: ‘It looks like a car crash down there.’
“Jamie’s Great Wall of Vagina shows that everyone is different and we will use his artwork to help our female patients change their perceptions of their ‘abnormality’ by showing them the variety of what ‘normal’ looks like.
“We are very grateful to Jamie for his kind donation and fully support his mission to ‘change female body image through art’.”
Mr McCartney said: “This is art with a social purpose. No vulva is vulgar.
“I am delighted to help promote better sexual health in my own city. Education is the key. Knowledge empowers people.
“This artwork helps women overcome unnecessary anxieties about their bodies and feel good about themselves.
“It makes it easier for someone to seek medical help when something isn’t right and discuss these things with their partners.”
His original sculpture took five years to complete with the help of 400 volunteer models and an army of workshop assistants.
Lisa Taylor said: “A lot of young women are uncomfortable about the way they look and think they don’t look normal.”
But, she said, just as everyone’s face was different so were other parts of the body.
Once young women realised that they were not abnormal “down there”, they were less likely to try to have unnecessary cosmetic surgery.
The Brighton and Hove SHAC Team provides a comprehensive sexual health service at three sites across the city. For more information visit www.brightonsexualhealth.com.
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