Portrait of Ms. Ruby May, Standing and is part of a series of work in which McCall focuses on how women choose to express themselves through their sexual identity, refusing to see it through the lens of the male gaze.
It remained on display for a mere two days before the museum decided enough was enough with this women finding themselves sexy without male approval thing.
Leena McCall explained that: "My work deals with female sexual and erotic identity. The fact that the gallery has deemed the work inappropriate and seen it necessary to have it removed from public display underlines the precise issue I am trying to address: how women choose to express their sexual identity beyond the male gaze."
You're probably wondering what this scandalous painting looks like. It looks like this. A tattooed woman, Ms. Ruby May, standing with a pipe held to her lips as she contemplates the viewer. It is pretty sexy. Oh yeah and her trousers are unbuttoned and you can see that she's a landing strip kinda gal.
Perhaps she just plain couldn't be bothered to do her trousers up post pee.
Ruby May said: "I don't think people realise how threatening a sexually empowered woman is to a paradigm that is still patriarchal at its roots. Thankfully, the world is evolving, this outdated paradigm is crumbling, and forms of censorship such as this are becoming unacceptable to the wider public."
Is it becoming unacceptable? This painting has, after all, been taken down. In protest McCall has launched an online campaign #eroticcensorship.
It is telling as to what the museum thinks of both women artists and women's sexual identity considering they removed the painting without bothering first to inform the artist. The fact that the content is supposed to be about women's agency in their sexual lives is clearly considered frivolous and unnecessary and apparently dangerous to school children. I think we all know how school children would react to such a painting. They'd giggle. Pubic hair is funny, adult nudity it an embarrassing rarity and just AWKWARD. Then they'd move on and eat crisps.
What's frightening about McCall's series is not the erotic content, it's not the pubic hair and it's not the children's innocent minds. It's the image of a woman taking agency.