‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Author Margaret Atwood Adds Visual Artist to Her Impressive Résumé

Atwood's drawing is on view at Luciano Benetton’s collection in Venice.

The author, Margaret Atwood. Photo: Liam Sharp.

Margaret Atwood, the acclaimed author behind the dystopic blockbuster The Handmaid’s Tale, is adding a new skill to her repertoire—visual artist. The 77-year-old Booker Prize winner has a work of art in the ongoing exhibition “Imago Mundi,” presented by Luciano Benetton’s Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche.

In a unique enterprise, Benetton has amassed some 20,000 works of art created by artists from 140 countries. The only requirement for the works is that they must be 10 by 12 centimeters, and be donated to the non-profit collection as a visual illustration of their geographic identity.

Atwood’s contribution is the requisite tiny size, and features hand-colored insects on a yellow background with the author’s face peeking out from the bottom of the frame. A line of ants traipsing across the canvas allude to Atwood’s noted advocacy of environmental causes. Here it is:

Margaret Atwood's Author Portrait (2015). Courtesy of the artist and Imago Mundi.

Margaret Atwood’s Author Portrait (2015). Courtesy of the artist and Imago Mundi.

The work is part of the latest instalment of Imago Mundi titled “Great and North,” a selection of art from the North American continent, which is debuting at the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Art in Venice. It will be open August 29–October 29.

The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m.–7:30 p.m. Admission is free.  

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