Telling Tales: the story continues

10 July 2013 by Emma Martin

A ink drawing of women descending to earth using parachutes

Women descending to earth using parachutes. Courtesy of the artist.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No its…a woman in a sari! There are so many stories that capture the imagination in World Museum’s summer exhibition, ‘Telling Tales: The Art of Indian Storytelling’, from the heroic Hanuman to the gorgeous, but every so slightly mischievous, Krishna. One of my personal favourites features not an heroic God from a Hindu epic, but instead an astronaut. Sunita Williams, the Indian-American astronaut, inspired one of the exhibition’s featured artists, Teju Ben to create a whole series of works on her adventures in space for our collection.

Ink drawing of a woman in a sari standing inside a spaceship

Sunita Williams landing after her space flight. Courtesy of the artist.

When Sunita Williams returned from her first space mission in 2007 she visited India and her family village in the state of Gujarat. Gujarat is also Teju Ben’s home and one night as Teju Ben watched the news, she saw a feature on Sunita Williams and her achievements. She was so impressed by all that this woman from Gujarat had achieved she began work on a series of ink drawings that told the story of Sunita William’s flight into space, her safe return and her life in the United States. For Teju Ben she was a symbol of all that women could now achieve in this world and in Teju Ben’s imagination Sunita Williams was able to do all this wearing her sari.

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