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Tasmanian museum hangs Picassos in women’s toilet after discrimination complaint

Picasso artwork hanging in Mona gallery women's toilet
Picasso artwork hanging in Mona gallery women's toilet Copyright Kirsha Kaechele / Facebook
Copyright Kirsha Kaechele / Facebook
By Euronews
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A museum in Tasmania found an innovative workaround when it was told it couldn’t restrict access to its women-only ‘Ladies Lounge’ – hanging artwork in a female toilet cubicle.

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Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart was found to have discriminated against a man who was refused entry to the museum’s women-only ‘Ladies Lounge’ space in April 2023, despite having paid for museum admission.

After Jason Lau made a complaint to the Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (TASCAT), the tribunal ruled in April this year that MONA stop denying entry to individuals who do not identify as women.

At this point, ‘Ladies Lounge’ creator and MONA curator Kirsha Kaechele vowed to explore possible loopholes, including converting the lounge into a toilet – and she was true to her word.

Kaechele took to Instagram on Monday to unveil a "new exhibition at Mona just for ladies": works by Spanish painter Pablo Picasso – widely acknowledged as among the important artists of the 20th century – in a toilet cubicle.

"We never had female toilets at Mona before, they were all unisex," she said, "But then the Ladies Lounge had to close thanks to a lawsuit brought on by a man and I just didn't know what to do with all those Picassos."

Kaechele is appealing TASCAT’s decision and believes she’ll be able to "get the lounge open again soon" by using section 26 of the state's Anti-Discrimination Act, perhaps turning the lounge into a church or school.

"Ladies love the Lounge – a space away from men – and given what we have been through for the last several millennia, we need it. We deserve both equal rights and reparations, in the form of unequal rights, or chivalry – for at least 300 years,” Kaechele said in May, when she announced she was appealing.

For now, though, the curator has one simple instruction for visitors to the women’s toilets:

"In the meantime, enjoy (ladies),” she wrote on Instagram.

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