Russian feminism artist Yulia Tsvetkova is a political prisoner of Kremlin. Since the 5th of February 2019, she has been persecuted by the state. She is facing about 6 years for her public Vagina Monologue in prison. I was in a similar situation to her though I was in prison for only 1 month. Please support her.
Today, the Supreme Court ruled on my vagina art case. The result was disappointing: my appeal was rejected. I was found innocent in 2017 regarding the exhibition of my work, but I was convinced that the rest of the charges, for distribution of data, would also be transformed to “Innocent”. So, I do not agree with the result.
This all began because I wondered “Why are female genitalia considered obscene and taboo?”, and in order to overturn its image, have been making cute, funny works. During my trial I argued: “The female genitals that are part of my body should not be judged obscene.” I have challenged the police and the judiciary who tried to deprive me of the freedom to express things with my body as a motif.
However the Supreme Court seems unable to escape from the old-fashioned value standard of “obscenity because it is a female genitalia”.
It is a strange thing that 3D data of my body is considered obscene while the deco-man, an art made from my body is not. Although in advanced Western countries, regardless of gender, there is almost no arrest or detention for artistic expressions that use his/her genital as a motif, I think it is a very anachronistic judgment in 2020. I am sorry that the cooperation and efforts of the lawyers and supporters who have helped me so far have not been fully realized.
However, I still dare to call this judgment a “historical judgment.”
It is extremely rare for the Supreme Court to rule on Article 175 of the Penal Code. In such a situation, although all my charges have not been acquitted, the appeals court confirmed that the deco-man’s work exhibition was acquitted. Therefore my case should remain in the history of obscene trials in Japan.
Often the person who has been subject to arrest and trial may be defeated afterwards. However I am full of freshness and motivation to create. Before I was arrested twice in 2014, I was leading kind of a halfway life, but due to severe police interrogation in prison, my spirit and patience were greatly and paradoxically improved, and I realized the importance of freedom of expression. I was blessed with a good husband and child as a result of the coverage of my arrest spreading overseas.
When I made this experience into a cartoon “What is Obscenity? The Story of a Good for Nothing Artist and Her Pussy?”, English, French, and Spanish translations were published. So I was able to show my works to the world. In addition, the Swiss director’s documentary film “#Female Pleasure”, which selected me as one of the “Five Women in the World” and documented my activities, won the Premio Zonta Club Locarno at the Locarno Film Festival 2018 and has been shown in many countries.
When I made a 3D printed vagina kayak, I myself didn’t have that skill and needed help. I wanted to master it, so I started studying and as a result, I was able to acquire the skills of 3D technology before the age of 50. My new works will be on display until July 22 at “BURST Generation: Death and SEX” exhibition, which is being held at Shinjuku Ophthalmologist（Ganka） Gallery, so please come visit.
Although it was a misdemeanor only punishable by a fine, I was unreasonably detained in jail for a long time, so at first I had a grudge against the police. But I am thankfult o them now for giving me an experience that I would not have had if I were living a normal life. The reason I started to create my vagina art seriously was that I received a large amount of slanders and bashings on a certain internet bulletin board. I have found that I really like to resist the unreasonable pressure of powers, organizations and groups that try to hold people down. Doing this has become my life work.
So I will continue to work creatively and announce new works. Furthermore, in the process leading up to the Supreme Court’s decision, a lot of happiness came in. In that sense as well, I feel proud that this judgment is a “historical judgment.”