Kuna, Cunt, Buju, Kunte, Cunus

Karla DICKENS: artist

Not On Display

About the work

The five panel painting, which features five alternative words for vagina, investigates gender, feminism and sexuality – and by default, the ebbs and flows of taboo subjects. Dickens is one of only a handful of Indigenous artists to consider LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) issues as part of her practice. This is in part due to her own identification as a member of this community. About this work, Dickens says, 'this painting was included in a solo exhibition "Sheila's Downunder" in 2000 as part of the arts program for the Sydney Olympic Games. All the works in the show embraced different words for vagina that are used around the world, some friendly and some abusive. The origins of the words in this work are: Cunnus – Latin; Kunte – Old Frisian; Kuna – Basque; Cunt – Middle English and definitely not a slang word; and Buju – an Aboriginal word for cunt that is not negative' (The artist, 2016). For different reasons, in Australia today, discomfort descends on most public discussions about the female body, especially about the ‘bits and bobs’ downstairs.
Kuna, Cunt, Buju, Kunte, Cunus
Artist/Maker and role
Karla DICKENS: artist
synthetic polymer paint and plastic tubing on canvas
68.5 x 35.0 cm each (five panels)
Credit line
Gift of Sue and Ian Bernadt, 2016
The State Art Collection, The Art Gallery of Western Australia
Accession number

This is one of the paintings in our collection.


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