Travel Realizations

Celebrating Experiences

Celebrating Women – A Montage of Travel Souvenirs!

During my decades-long travels, whenever and wherever I came across exhibitions, museums, events, or memorials celebrating women, I acquired a piece of memento for my collection. Eventually, I built a montage of travel souvenirs that celebrate women. They all inspire me and give me the strength to achieve new milestones and set new goals. I hope these souvenirs and their stories will inspire you too as they do to me.

Celebrating women – A Montage of travel souvenirs! #InternationalWomensDay #ChooseToChallenge Click To Tweet

Dorothea Lange – A famous American photographer

I have always been passionate about storytelling through photography. During my visit to the Oakland Museum of California, I came across a groundbreaking photograph, the migrant mother by one of the greatest American photographers Dorothea Lange. She recorded a migrant pea-picker, 32-year-old Florence Thompson, with three of her children. The ethos and empathy of this photograph are powerful. Lange’s photographs influenced the development of documentary photography and humanized the consequences of poverty during the Great Depression. No wonder this became an iconic image of the Great Depression. I was really startled and pleasantly surprised by the photograph’s pictorial strength and emotional impact. This always inspires me whenever I go out with my camera – a weapon to show the truth and is equally mighty like a pen.

I was really startled and pleasantly surprised by the photograph’s pictorial strength and emotional impact. This always inspires me whenever I go out with my camera – a weapon to show the truth and is equally mighty like a pen.… Click To Tweet

While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, there is another in which it proves to us how little our eyes permit us to see.

Dorothea Lange
Celebrating women - A Montage of travel souvenirs, Travel Realizations, The Immigrant mother, Dorothea Lange
Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California –  Overwhelming hardship but also resilience are evident in both her facial expression and body language.
I built a montage of travel souvenirs that celebrate women. I hope these souvenirs and their stories will inspire you too as they do to me. #InternationalWomensDay #ChooseToChallenge Click To Tweet

Sabine Lepsius – A German portrait painter

During my visit to Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin, I was more than happy to see the ongoing exhibition, Fighting for Visibility, dedicated to all the works in the Nationalgalerie produced by women painters and sculptors before 1919. This is indeed an important step in a predominantly male-dominated genre. I not only savored the works of women painters and sculptors, who fought against all the adversity to break into the world of art and succeeded in having their works included in the Nationalgalerie’s collection but also collected a beautiful souvenir of the famous painting – A self-portrait by Sabine Lepsius. I salute her individual fight for visibility.

Celebrating women - A Montage of travel souvenirs, Travel Realizations, the self portrait by Sabine Lepsius
The confident look in the self portrait by Sabine Lepsius is uplifting.

Queen Nefertiti – The most famous Egyptian Queen

Women of all ages have inspired other women to challenge and change society irrespective of innumerable contradictions they struggle with. Inside the Neues Museum in Berlin, while looking at one of the most famous faces from antiquity and reading about her, it dawned on me that we must celebrate women not only from modern ages but also from the ancient ones. Queen Nefertiti played an important role in the conversion of Egypt’s religion. She was very influential in establishing one of the world’s first monotheistic religions. No wonder she is one of the most powerful women in ancient Egypt.

Women of all ages have inspired other women to challenge and change society irrespective of innumerable contradictions they struggle with. #InternationalWomensDay #ChooseToChallenge Click To Tweet
Celebrating women - A Montage of travel souvenirs, Travel Realizations, Queen Nefertiti
Nefertiti – Her name means “the beautiful woman has come”.

A replica of an Indian working woman in a village

Many a time, while traveling in India and its villages, I have seen women working on fields with their husbands from morning till evening. The strength and fighting spirit of an ordinary woman amidst hardship is no less inspiring. I see the emergence of extraordinary from ordinary. Not just in India, but anywhere in the world, women still work hard in farms, fields, and in industries as much as men and equally contribute to their families. We can never ignore the contribution of these women. It is not necessary to look for trail-blazing paths for inspiration but also from ordinary lives, we can imbue the spirit to fight and make it in this world. I acquired this clay sculpture from Krishnanagar, a town in the state of West Bengal in India.

The strength and fighting spirit of an ordinary woman amidst hardship is no less inspiring. I see the emergence of extraordinary from ordinary. #InternationalWomensDay #ChooseToChallenge Click To Tweet
Celebrating women - A Montage of travel souvenirs, Travel Realizations, A replica of an Indian working woman in a village
A clay sculpture of a hard working woman from an Indian village
It is not necessary to look for trail-blazing paths for inspiration but also from ordinary lives, we can imbue the spirit to fight and make it in this world. #InternationalWomensDay #ChooseToChallenge Click To Tweet

A tribute to my late grandmother

My maternal grandmother passed away last year. She didn’t enjoy all the privileges that a modern-day woman enjoys and yet with her creations she escaped the mundane of everyday routine. I was surprised when I saw that she made a wonderful English lady with wool. She could have chosen a familiar Indian subject but she chose a completely different theme. I don’t know whether she ever aspired to see the world beyond India but I can salute her imagination and creation. Like my grandmother, there are many women, who escape their familiar world through imagination every day. Although they don’t have the economic means to see the whole wide world, they rely on their creation for satisfaction amidst the daily chores. I celebrate those women too.

There are many women who don't have the economic means to see the whole wide world, they rely on their creation for satisfaction amidst the daily chores. I celebrate those women too. #InternationalWomensDay #ChooseToChallenge Click To Tweet
Celebrating women - A Montage of travel souvenirs, Travel Realizations, English lady with wool
An English woman made by Shanti Chatterjee – My late grandmother!

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I personally believe that as a society we have come a long way and women are in the frontiers of science, technology, politics, and economics with fortitude. But I have often seen many working women still do not escape the traditional world which involves thankless daily chores. It would be unjust not to mention that there are also many husbands who equally help their partners in household chores and childcare. With awareness, love, and empathy we all can do better and march towards more equal and just societies. It is difficult to reconcile the inheritance of the past with the interest of the future, but not impossible. Let’s not impose duties and chores on women and curtail their freedom and instead let’s celebrate them and help them achieve their full potential. They can still become a good mother and become an idol to their children.

I hope all these souvenirs and their stories from my travels inspired and motivated you.

It is difficult to reconcile the inheritance of the past with the interest of the future, but not impossible. Let's not impose duties and chores on women and curtail their freedom and instead let's celebrate them and help them… Click To Tweet

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Chirasree Banerjee

Hello. My name is Chirasree. I have been traveling for almost 11 years to places all over the world. I enter into a separate reality during my travels and enjoy the allure of escape from the mundane. I seek beauty through nature and human-made creations. Because beauty is powerful. I seek knowledge. I observe, absorb, and write about the places I visit and the profound realizations and inspirations that each place has to offer.

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3 Comments

  1. This is such an interesting collection of souvenirs! Much better than the standard ones I’d normally pick up.

  2. What lovely souvenirs! The woman your grandmother made is beautiful. What a great treasure to have!

  3. Danny Ray Compton

    Thank you for bringing the world into my heart and home.

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