"Sultana's Dream" draws inspiration from the eponymous 1905 book by the renowned Bengali feminist thinker and writer, Begum Rokeya. The story unfolds as it follows a Spanish artist residing in India who serendipitously encounters a science fiction narrative centered on "Ladyland," a utopian society where women hold sway over the nation while men retreat to seclusion and assume responsibility for domestic chores.
Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain (1880-1932) and Begum Sufia Kamal (1911-1999), two icons in Bangla literature and culture, were not kins but kindred spirits.
For those who are especially interested in literature in book form, the first two floors of the exhibition hold treasures.
The zine-making workshop was divided into four groups based on the central themes of Begum Rokeya’s story: arts, social justice, city planning and science & education.
Her 1903 piece “Alonkar na badge of slavery” marked the start of Rokeya’s explicitly feminist writing.
The Penguin Classics edition of Sultana’s Dream and Padmarag comes in a paperback, ebook, and as an audiobook narrated by Priya Ayyar, a television and film actor and award-winning audiobook narrator with a BFA and MFA from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.
"I selected excerpts from eight famous works, books like Begum Rokeya’s 'Motichur' and 'Ekattorer Diary' by Sufia Kamal, and expanded on their implied or intended meaning as best as I could."
A designer and illustrator whose work focuses on human rights, feminism, and South Asian identity, Pakistani artist Shehzil Malik has just created an artwork based on Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain's novella Sultana's Dream (1905).