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Maira Kalman’s ode to women holding things – in pictures

American author and illustrator Maira Kalman describes her project Women Holding Things as “a love song to [those] exhausted from holding everything”. Her poignant portraits, a meditation on the burdens and privileges of womanhood, feature Edith Sitwell and Gertrude Stein as well as members of Kalman’s family and anonymous faces. Some women hold flowers, others hold the hand of their child as they are executed by the Nazis. Kalman says her favourite image is of her grandmother holding the weight of the world. “Though it didn’t stop her from taking care of everything in the home. I can still smell the beautiful scent of her Friday cinnamon cakes.”

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