Celestial Maiden of Sigiriya • RADAO • she/her
I am the last of the 21 Apsaras that have survived.
Sinhagiri Sri Lanka
fresco gracing the rock walls of the 8th wonder of the world, the Sigiriya fortress. Many call her a celestial nymph carrying flowers to shower upon kings and mortals below. Others disagree and are convinced she is one of the queens or concubines of Kasyapa's harem. Over centuries Apsara has been a part of conversations. Sri Lanka as a conservative nation polices women on their attire, speech, and conduct and insists that women adhere to patriarchal and traditional beliefs. As a result, sex education and even menstruation are viewed as taboo topics. This has led to the objectification of women and an alarming rise in domestic abuse, cyber abuse and harassment even on the streets and on public transportation. Meanwhile, Apsara from the 5th century comes from a free spirit culture, though Apsara might tell you differently. She, along with her twenty-one maidens have remained voiceless with their secrets and stories intact. She is tired of being objectified and as the spokeswoman of the group, now that she has been given a voice, she intends to use it to speak about the atrocities against women, while marveling and pondering if Mars would be a better place for all women.