She reached for the stars and landed on the moon. ‘Sisterhood’ by Mumbai-based painter Sonal Relekar Ramnath is making an incredible voyage to the moon in the last quarter of this year. Part of The Peregrine Collection, it will journey through outer space in the company of works by 1,200 artists.
The piece is a paean to women’s emancipation. “I stand for liberation and so does my art. I have endeavoured to show that women can do anything,” says Ramnath, adding, “The concept of Sisterhood was born in her spacious, breezy studio after watching her daughter and 17-year-old niece braiding each other’s hair, chatting and laughing, having a good time. I took photographs. Viewing them later, I found their sisterhood inspiring.”
Around the same time, she was reading about Rani Lakshmibai and her coterie of brave women. Ramnath decided to include the many aspects of courage with which women in history have conducted their lives. The painting took a little over two months to finish. She selected the photographs, made compositional and colour studies, chose the base, drew the composition, and finally rendered it on canvas. “I wanted to capture the breezy lightness of my studio where these conversations took place since I believe spaces have a huge role to play in creative processes,” says Ramnath.
A digitised form of Sisterhood, along with the other works, will be carried aboard Astrobotic’s Peregrine Lunar Lander’s time capsule. This is the first commercial launch to reach the lunar surface. It will also be the first artwork by a woman to be kept on the moon. “The Peregrine Collection is among the most distinguished collections of contemporary cultural works assembled for a launch into space,”
Commercial lunar landings by Astrobotic’s Peregrine and Intuitive Machines’ Nova-C landers, will contain time capsules with books, music, poetry, stories, screenplays, and more. “Art knows to evolve and adapt. From frescos to digital NFTs, it has communicated despite challenges. Going forward, I envisage art to become even more diverse through ever-changing mediums.
The artist’s community will comprise pieces of the pie and every artist will have a piece to share and every art-lover will get one to eat. It’s a matter of getting to know each other,” says Ramnath, who is currently working on the notion of space as a phenomenon, analysing it through various dimensions.
She has all the space as her palette.
Made of aluminium isogrid shear panels and aluminium honeycomb mounting surfaces, Astrobotic Peregrine Lunar Lander in which the artwork, Sisterhood will be carried, is a four-legged vessel. It stands at 1.9m, with an approximate width of 2.5m and a total mass of close to 770 kg.
If there is life on other planets, what would you be excited to explore?
An emotion we now can see more of in your art.
A phase of life that altered your thinking?
For art to survive, what’s most important?
Communicating with the contemporary world
The best thing an artist can do to stay unique.
Use your instinct
An artist whose work every enthusiast must study.
Rembrandt and Salvador Dali
Besides art, a creative form you’d like to explore?
A life-skill everybody can benefit from.
Carpentry and cooking
A powerful recent learning.
“The artwork stands for liberation. I have attempted to show that women can do anything and reach anywhere, and what better place than the moon.” Sonal Relekar Ramnath