A Swedish graphic artist, Liv Strömquist, 37, is trying to convince riders on the Stockholm subway, or tunnelbana, that there’s nothing wrong with menstruation. Most who have seen the work have said it’s “offensive.”
Strömquist’s work includes female characters drawn with a felt-tip pen, bleeding while obviously having their period, and is displayed across Stockholm’s 68-mile rail network. The subway has been dubbed “the longest art gallery in the world.”
However, Strömquist’s controversial art pieces, drawn in black, white and red, have started serious conversations about what is appropriate to be shown in such a public area.
The works, entitled, “It’s Alright, I’m Only Bleeding” can be seen in 90 out of the 100 stations in the Swedish capital. Strömquist has said the series was inspired by the “pastoral idyll” genre, and sought to convey a sense of tranquility to stressed-out commuters. Needless to say, Strömquist’s artwork has drawn criticism from social media.
Another critic added, “It’s not fun explaining to a four-year-old about the red between the legs.” @LuckyAmori wrote, “It is not enough to wear it once a month. Now you should be reminded every time you jump on the subway.”
However, many others praised the bravery of the artist in talking about a subject that many feel shouldn’t still be taboo in 2017. The debates around sexual politics in Sweden can be described as multi-faceted and complex, inspired by the political interests of opinion makers, which includes feminist interests.
Strömquist spoke to Swedish national broadcaster Sverige Radio and said she didn’t want to comment on the controversy surrounding her works. She said, “This discussion always comes when I exhibit my art, because it’s a taboo in society and evokes strong emotions.”
She added: “I’ve not commented on the discussion, and it’s not my place to give judgments to my own art… I’m very excited that some people have enjoyed it.”
Strömquist comics are mostly about sociopolitical issues from a feminist and left-wing perspective. They are satirical essay about power and injustices. Together with the author Caroline Ringskog Ferrada-Noli, she runs the podcast En varg söker sin pod for the newspaper Expressen.