By Filipa Ramos
Full disclosure: it’s impossible to expect readers of a Milan-based publication to give us credibility when reviewing an exhibition entitled Figa. In Italy the term has such a straightforward connotation (meaning a sexy woman or female genitalia) that it instantaneously locates this project somewhere between the provocative and the rude. However, Kara Walker successfully turns what could be a terribly misogynist faux pas into a potentially emancipatory gesture, concerning the legacy of female representation and its role in larger struggles to overcome gender, racial, and social inequalities.
Currently on display at the DESTE Project Space Slaughterhouse in Hydra, Figa is an exhibition of a single work, combining the tradition of monumental public sculpture with the ritualism of visiting a quasi-relic. The experience is enhanced by the foundation’s premises, an isolated old building that sits alone on a promontory facing the Aegean Sea, with its multiple historical, cultural, and touristic imaginaries.
Image: Kara Walker, Figa, 2017, © the artist
Photography: Fanis Vlastaras and Rebecca Constantopoulou