Save your pennies and buy this gorgeous book Drawing the City, published by Indian small press Tara Books. It is the collected art and journal of a self taught Indian village woman Tejubehan, whose family worked as itinerant singers. The book is a visual representation of her life growing up poor in the countryside sustained by a private and vivid imagination. After her family moved to the Mumbai in search of work, Tejubehan met and married another singer who encouraged her to pursue her art. The result is this book and these extraordinary drawings -- so full of movement and life. There are richly detailed images of women (always many women! I love that -- this isn't just her story) engaged in traditional activities. But in the city there drawings of women exploring the modern world -- a world of new possibilities and freedoms -- like the smiling women on bicycles below.
Of the image Tejubehan writes:
"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."
Here is another view of women in the city. Each woman is equipped with her own balloon - taking her somewhere new. Restless, searching, exploring on her own. Though each balloon is individually detailed, they are a group -- a new force of nature. Here's what Tejubehan says:
"But even in the plane, my women are not content to sit still. So I float them down, wondering where they should go next. Should they fly forever like birds? Or should I draw some lines taking them down to the sea?
I rest my pen here for a moment. I have time to decide."
The book is beautifully crafted -- here's a description from Brain Pickings (where you can read much more about Tejubehan) "Drawing from the City has been silkscreen-printed and bound by hand on handmade paper. The cover is colored with traditional Indian dyes, emanating an enchanting earthy smell that reminds you what it’s like to hold an analog labor of love in your analog human hands."
So what are you waiting for? Support this artist -- and this remarkable small press.