Exhibitions and events
Empowerment for the whole family this half-term

An introduction to Goddess by author Janina Ramirez

I’m Janina Ramirez, historian, documentary maker and writer. I’m so excited to share my latest children’s book, Goddess, with you, in one of my favourite places on earth – the British Museum. Writing this book was an incredible journey which took me across time and the globe in search of stories about female figures who have inspired belief. But it’s not just classical goddesses in togas (although those also have some unexpected aspects!). Here are a few you might not expect.

Baba Yaga
A woman with long flowing hair riding a magic broom.
Baba Yaga © Sarah Walsh 2022

The mischievous and malevolent witch of Russian folklore. Baba Yaga lives in a house that spins around on chicken legs and she flies about in a pestle and mortar. When she is on your side she can be helpful, but most of the time she will probably gobble you up!

Kali
A blue figure wearing a necklace of skulls and dancing on another figure.
Kali © Sarah Walsh 2022

Hindu goddess of time, creation and destruction. Kali burst out of the head of the goddess Durga when she lost control on the battlefield. She is an unstoppable force, who licked up the blood of demons to stop them multiplying. Kali can be overwhelmed with passion, and nearly killed her partner Shiva by dancing uncontrollably on his chest.

Rangda
Masked figure with long fingernails and colourful attire.
Rangda © Sarah Walsh 2022

This widow-witch has her roots in a real Balinese woman who lived over a thousand years ago, but her legend has developed some terrifying aspects. Rangda is chief among the Layak, who are nightmarish creatures that tear their head and entrails from their bodies at night in search of children to devour. But she provides harmony alongside the gentle god Barong – day and night, light and darkness, happiness and sorrow.

Oshun
Figure surrounded by flowers, sun appearing from behind her.
Ohsun © Sarah Walsh 2022

In the West African Yoruba religion, Oshun is the most important orisha or spirit as she controls the life-giving waters. As a river can flood, destroy, create and regenerate, Oshun represents all these qualities. She carries a fan to symbolise the cooling power of her water, but also a cutlass to show that she will fight to protect her people.


Join Janina Ramirez for Ferociously feminine

Please join me on 1 June at the British Museum where I will be sharing stories and bringing these fascinating figures to life as part of the Museum’s half-term family activities! I’ll show you how goddesses going back 20,000 years can still be exciting and inspiring today, and I’ll introduce you to cultures you may never have encountered before.

Goddess Book Launch with Nosy Crow and Janina Ramirez

11.00–13.00 and 14.00–16.00, Great Court

Join historian Janina Ramirez to celebrate children’s book Goddess. Meet the author, take part in activities and listen to the author talk about her inspiration for the book.

Suitable for 6+

Feminine Power Tattoo Parlor

11:00–13:00 and 14:00–15:30 Great Court

Roll up to the empowerment tattoo parlor where you can pick up and apply temporary tattoos inspired by the book Goddess published by Nosy Crow in collaboration with the British Museum.

Suitable for 3+

See the Goddesses with your own eyes in the new exhibition
Figure wearing necklace of heads, stepping on top of someone else.
Kaushik Ghosh, Kali Murti, 2022.

Many of the divine figures featured in Goddess appear in the Feminine power exhibition. Come face to face with the likes of Venus, Athena, Kali and Pele with sculptures, shields, masks, paintings and other objects from the ancient world to today.

Beautiful? Creative? Ferocious? This exhibition highlights the many faces of feminine power – and its seismic influence throughout time.

The Citi exhibition Feminine power: the divine to the demonic runs 19 May–25 September. Under 16s go free.