I thought I would share some images from one of my favourite books—Tejubehan’s Drawing from the City, published by Tara Books. Tejubehan belongs to a family of folk singers from Rajasthan in India and had never seen a book before getting married. After she married another folk singer, he and an artist named Haku Shah encouraged her to draw. The book is the story of both her experiences and her dreams, and is filled with images of women moving around, rowing boats, riding in trains, cycling, driving, flying—even floating in the air. That last picture of women floating down was inspired by a television programme on Indian origin astronaut Sunita Williams, as Tejubehan recounts in this interview.
The book itself is beautiful–silkscreen printed on handmade paper and bound by hand.
“It is like magic. I sit in one place with paper and pen, and it is my hand that starts to move. Lines, dots, more lines, and more dots, and you have a picture. I can bring to life things that I have seen and know, but also things that I imagine. I can even bring the two together.
I have been moving all my life, looking for ways to survive, but this is a new direction. My heart is full.
I see a girl going somewhere on a bicycle, and I draw a whole group of girls, all of them on the way somewhere.”
“I like cars. I wonder what it’s like to move at such a high speed and to be in control of where you’re going. There are always two women in my cars. One drives and the other looks out of the window.
I want to be both of those women.”