Skirt-wearing Artist Stopped from Entering Vatican

Mumbai-based artist Julius Macwan has felt strongly about women’s causes for a long time — in solidarity of which he wears skirts, a statement that he feels underlines his connection with and sympathies for the fairer sex. But this very ‘rule breaking’ got him into a bit of a conundrum in Rome last week.

Julius, a Roman Catholic by birth, inspired by Italy’s greats Michelangelo and Bernini in his art, named after Roman emperor Julius Caesar was ironically stopped at the very gates he was longing to pass through for a very long time — he was forbidden from entering the Vatican because he was in a skirt.

“I was in a state of shock, my mind was numb,” Macwan, now back in Mumbai, recalled. “My most famous work is inspired by the Pieta, it is also called the Pieta/The Death of Magic. I wanted to see the Pieta in the Vatican, had dressed formally for the occasion — skirt covering the knees, leg warmers, boots, a half- sleeved shirt. You can say my outfit was inspired by Roman warriors of the past.”

It might be interesting to note that Macwan’s Pieta/The Death of Magic depicts a self portrait of Julius himself, in a skirt, holding the body of a woman in a bikini, representative of the magic of womanhood dying in a male-controlled world. Macwan’s Pieta is now part of Harsh Goenka’s collection. [more]

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