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The Vulva Gallery | An illustrated project celebrating the beauty of diversity

ita | eng

Personal stories and illustrated portraits, useful tips and a section dedicated entirely to anatomy. The Vulva Gallery is a project that raises awareness on the female genital organs, on their appearance as well as their function; designed by illustrator Hilde Atalanta who, from 2016, inaugurated an educational platform involving a vast community that today has more than half a million followers worldwide.

The aim of Hilde Atalanta – Amsterdam-based illustrator who works on issues relating to diversity and inclusiveness, gender identity, relationships and sexuality – is to break down stereotypes rooted in today’s society by offering active support to women so that they can discover their bodies in a conscious way, without shame or taboos.

 

The beauty of diversity

A “perfect” or “normal” vulva does not exist, just as there are no two that are equal to one another. Yet, as the illustrator states on the official website of the project, there are an increasing number of young women who think of resorting to cosmetic surgery because they feel different, inadequate, far from the common standards that appear on magazines, pornography and biology books.

No woman should be ashamed of her own vagina, nor should she hesitate to ask questions on her own health of the pleasures of sex. The truth is that there still isn’t enough conversation about the subject, and girls find themselves growing up with countless taboos as well as with a distorted vision of the body, which are based on manufactured beauty ideals.

“All vulvas are unique, just like our hands, noses and eyes,” says Hilde Atalanta, “By showing there is diversity, and openly talking about our experiences and insecurities we can change the way we look at our bodies – and those of others.”

 

A project combining illustration and information

The watercolour portraits made by Hilde Atalanta celebrate the vulva in its infinite forms, in its colours and its peculiar characteristics, composing a true illustrated atlas constantly expanding on social media and printed in the volume A celebration of vulva diversity, self-published by the artist in 2019.

The Vulva Gallery sends a positive message: it is an invitation to appreciate the beauty of diversity, and a new stimulus for discussion on the numerous issues regarding the body, health and sex education.

The online platform is easy to navigate and includes: a collection of personal stories, a large section dedicated to the anatomy of the female organs and their functions, external links that provided answers to common questions – such as those on pubic hair, vagina health and differences between tampons – and larger scale questions on sex, gender and gender identity.

In addition to The Vulva Gallery, Hilde Atalanta is the author of You’re Welcome Club an illustrated project that addresses human diversity by questioning stereotypes and clichés in relation to the concepts of masculinity and femininity.

For more information visit the project’s official website, follow Hilde Atalanta on  Instagram.

Translated by Ludovica Sarti

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