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  • Writer's pictureS Kaul

Nine Days of the Goddess-Women Power.

A dramatization of catastrophe and the choices we have as humans.
Clayfeet: Oil on Paper (Spicseed Art & Design Studio)

Namaste. Today starts the nine-day holy period in India of the celebration of the Hindu Goddess Durga/Shakti and her various avatars.

As I began this painting a couple of years ago, I began thinking about the tradition of "Goddess-worship" in my culture, in contrast with the "actual" state of some women in society. Or in the world, for that matter!

With the latest wave of #metoo reporting on violence against women, I am touched by the level of apathy and blaming the victim mentalities that are on display. It takes a lot to step up and talk about something that has burned a hole in your soul. Through my art, I stand with all those who have suffered and not been heard.

Consequently, this painting, "Clayfeet," tells the story of a woman in a traditional Indian village set-up with the typical rural lifestyle. The figure in the background is her husband whom she has looked to and followed (per the social dictum) in every phase of life. He is the title figure of "Clayfeet," as in, the "idol has clay-feet". The fire looming in the distant background denotes a tragedy or catastrophe. The male figure continues to face in the direction of the calamity and channel negativity, even as he refuses to turn towards and engage his wife. Exasperated, she sits on the foreground, clutching her head, contemplating her next move. Her spirit goads her to move on and away from the tyranny of the husband. Her scarlet shawl denote the brazenness and courage it takes to bear the stigma of leaving societal norms. Her white skirt with the peacock insignia represents a connection with renewal and spirituality. She is about to get up... which direction will she choose?

In this spirit, I am currently conceptualizing an art show with the theme of "How to Empower Ourselves with Choices in the Aftermath of Disaster". I welcome all support and partnership in this effort. And let's remember that when the nine days of Navratri are over, the goddesses on earth doing their best to enhance the human experience still need love and devotion. Dhanyavaad and Peace to all.

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