The Ambassador by Astera T.

Materials:Strathmore watercolor paper, Copic markers, Watercolor pencils and watercolors.

Inspired by Marina’s Cosmos Exploratum, one of my favorite ED.

This is a paper matryoshka with the paper nude Edie at its core. It represents several things. First, it symbolizes the birth of a new generation of dolls (Marina’s) from the long Russian doll tradition. Second, it brings together two similar experiences I had: the discovery of the matryoshkas as a child and the discovery of the Enchanted Dolls as an adult. I saw my first matryoshka at a neighbor’s home and I was stunned buy the colors, the mechanism, the concept. It took me years to get my own (25 to be precise: my husband brought me one when he visited Moscow). Some months ago, I stumbled upon Marina’s web site and that magic feeling of wonder came back to me. I can only hope, that the dream of holding an ED in my hands will not take that long to come true…

Third, it depicts the background story that I imagined for Cosmos Exploratum and that inspired the short assay that accompanies my drawing. Cosmos is an ambassador of a distant planet, far more advance than our own, where harmony reigns and all the needs of the inhabitants have been fulfilled, so that everybody can pursue art and beauty. She visits other civilizations in the universe, searching new artifacts and exchanging them with tokens of the creativity of her own people. This is why her word has decorative motives from many different cultures. The story tells of her last trip, on a planet called Earth, very wild and dangerous, where she found beautiful art not so different from the one of Leonidelios, her planet, and of her fortunate encounter with a very special human, Marina. In the matryoshka I represented a night view (front) and a day view (back) of the planetary capital, where modernity, nature, and ancient art coexist. In the front, Cosmo Exploratum, is represented in an unconventional style for a matryoshka (…but this is the future right?) as she emerges from her last travel. To move across the galaxies, she uses a special time-space travel machine (on the right) connected with her mysterious headpiece. The inside of the matryoshka represents the chamber of the machine that conducted her to us. The joy and wellbeing that art brings to humanity is immense and Marina contributes to make our world a better place…with Edie’s help, of course.

**Text of the short story**

Finally home!

Traveling through the quantum-continuum always tired her and she couldn’t wait to take a refreshing bath. She stretched her limbs from the fetal position necessary to travel in the space-time Vehicle. This time she would make time to relax in the fountain by the temple: the responsibilities of her Office could wait, for once, and she wanted some time alone to think, before presenting her report to the High Council.

Certainly what she experienced in this trip was quite… unexpected. Throughout her career, she hadn’t ever visited a world with so many similarities to her own. It was clearly more primitive than Leonidelios, but the paintings, the architecture… the sculptures, it was all so similar to the art of her people. Was it possible that all of this was pure coincidence? Or did their two cultures meet, even if in a distant past, maybe in one of the Travels of the Early Explorers, before any known records of the Leonidelian quest for knowledge? Or the spirits of these two planets were so in tune that their people could resonate with common esthetical feelings, despite the deep space-time divide?

The water was fresh and the energizing massage of the fountain cleared her mind from the stress of her travel between the two worlds. How did they call their planet? Earth.

She knew what she would report to the High Council: she’d love to be appointed Ambassador of Leonidelios to Earth and find the answers to such fundamental questions. And by what she had seen on this scouting trip, she had already decided whom her host could be... her name was Marina, she knew art and loved beauty. For the first time in a long time, she felt that she could make that planet her new home!

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Copyright © 2010 Marina Bychkova.