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First to paint in zero gravity

Artist Ankita Joshi is being trained under ex-NASA astronaut, will fly on March 24.

art and culture Updated: Mar 13, 2011 13:32 IST
Shweta Mehta

City artist Ankita Joshi is training hard for a feat that most of us may not even have thought of. The 28-year-old is striving for mental and physical fitness, which she’ll need when she sets out to try and become the first person in the world to paint inside a zero gravity flight. Says Joshi, “It’s quite dangerous. I’ve been made to sign a contract stating that I’m doing this at my own free will, because there’s a risk of death.”

To prepare herself, Joshi swims and does rigorous exercises for weight loss. She is also consulting a psychiatrist to ensure her mental stability. “Preparing for one flight is easy, but I’m doing a series of them in weightlessness, and one can easily fall prey to insomnia, puffiness and even cardiovascular imbalances. A heart attack can occur in such circumstances,” she reasons.

The artist is currently undergoing training with an ex-NASA astronaut, Greg Claxton, in order to ready herself for her attempt at the feat later this month, in the USA. Starting from March 24, she will go on a flight every day, and will get only 240 seconds to perform. On each short flight, she will create one painting. Joshi has planned to put together a series on the concept of zero gravity itself. “For the first flight, I plan to depict how one is closest to the feeling of weightlessness when in the mother’s womb,” she reveals.

Special compressed oil sticks, have been imported, since using liquid paints is not possible in the conditions. After putting together her work prepared in zero gravity, Joshi will return to the city to display these works at a local gallery next month.