Lady Skollie (Laura Windvogel) has made sex her career. Painting it, not doing it, with confrontational artwork rich with suggestive images of bananas and repeated patterns of “pussy prints”.
It’s a strange way to earn a living, but it’s becoming more important as she now channels her ideas and attitudes into activism.
Windvogel (28) paints under her pseudonym Lady Skollie and delights in being in your face. Her work exhibited at several group shows and art fairs such as Sex at the Stevenson Gallery and in her own solo exhibition, Ask For What You Want.
She’s also recorded a series of entertaining podcasts talking about relationships and giving her opinions and confessions.
For a long time her work drew phallic symbols and vaginal shapes without tackling the issues of abuse, making them almost titillating, rather than confrontational. She admits she tried to stay away from activism, although her captions always gave her work a context. Now she’s becoming more strident in the artwork, demanding that its messages be heard.
“Lately I have been very consumed with sexual assault and how commonplace it is in South Africa, and how ‘normal’ it is. People have been approaching me and wanting me to speak at survivors’ centres; they’re assuming I’m so passionate about it because I must be a survivor of some sort of abuse and I’m not — I’m just very passionate about it. I think it’s something we should all be very angry about,” she says. “Even if you are not a survivor of some kind of violence you should be so angry, and express your anger and discuss what’s going on. Something like one in every four women has been a victim, so if you do the maths it’s insane. I’m trying to unstigmatise it. If my brashness in speaking about it helps them to speak about it, then I’ve done my job.”
Her work may offend and has been described as both beautiful and grotesque. She says she is obsessed with sexual images because “it’s the simplest and the most complicated thing of being human, and [it] reminds us that we are just animals. Sex, food and sleep are very primal”. — Lesley Stones