In our materialistic world, we often gauge our value based on societal expectations like wealth, status, and appearance. Caught in a system that categorizes us according to these criteria, we lose sight of our personal values and aspirations. Society’s influence prompts us to prioritize norms over our beliefs and cultural backgrounds, fearing the label of a ‘pariah’ and aspiring to fit the mold of what is considered ‘normal.’ However, this ‘normal’ is merely a construct we’ve internalized, offering a false sense of assurance in our worth—a fabricated harmony.

Stripped of our ideals, conforming to the ‘norm’ may render us sterile vessels marching towards our demise. The misfits, who insist on maintaining their individuality, challenge this notion. They embody a completeness that stems from expressing their true selves, experiencing a natural harmony within. My artwork in this series personifies these misfits, pariahs, and deviants, highlighting their authenticity in a sea of artificial normality. Embracing their own nature, they find peace, depicted in the series through individuals who are part human and part not—the absence representing a connection with one’s roots. The naturalistic imagery captures the beauty of their retained individuality, defying societal pressure to conform.

The color blue carries diverse meanings for each individual. Bright shades have been known to encourage calm and clarity, while darker ones can appear tumultuous, or mysterious, like the night sky. In an Indian myth, during a crisis, gods and demons united to churn the ocean, though in their efforts, they released the deadly poison ‘Halahala.’ Lord Shiva, in order to save the universe, consumed the poison and– with the help of the goddess Shakti– turned blue.

Halahala symbolizes negative unconscious forces, suggesting we choose whether to succumb to it. The ‘Blue’ art series signifies this poison, representing societal issues. The works depict women breaking free from norms, celebrating their endurance against abuse and objectification. Blue reflects the current societal struggles, mirroring a call for change akin to a ‘Samudra Manthan,’ crucial for humanity’s salvation. The historical context adds layers to the color’s significance, portraying it not just as calming but also associated with melancholy and tragedy by artists like Matisse and Picasso.

Delving into the symbolism of Chhinnamastaa, a fierce representation of the Goddess Kali, unveils profound cosmic wisdom. The Goddess, holding her severed head and drinking from the fountain of blood, signifies the inevitability of death for all life forms. This metaphor underscores the detachment of ‘consciousness’ from the physical body, emphasizing the spiritual path’s pursuit of separating thoughts from the material world.

The sacrifice of the head, akin to shedding ego, represents the challenging path to egoless consciousness and spiritual enlightenment. The Goddess’s consumption of blood signifies the transformative power that comes from sacrificing transient aspects of self in the hopes of finding divine consciousness. Hence, in recognizing our innate fear of detaching from bodily consciousness, the philosophy of Chhinnamastaa encourages us to seek transcendence.

The Free Spirit

In the past, I used to compromise my art to fit societal views. However, a revelation through the Goddess Kali reminded me I didn’t need to seek validation at the expense of my purpose.

Over time, the Dark Mother became a powerful force in my work and life, urging me to look beyond my existing knowledge and engage in self-reflection. This sparked an internal dance, inspiring a portrayal of vulnerability in my art.

The series consists of the same representation of the Goddess Kali holding different positions; each stance depicts a liberated, female spirit. She, who deems herself dominant over her demons, conscious of her faculties and limitless strength, is free.

An emblem of empowerment for women, she is the perfect archetype of female balance, guiding us to strength, intellect, knowledge, and sexual sovereignty.

Anomalies – Hypothetically Hybrid

There is a kind of subtle chaos, a supple element of chance and change, residing at the core of living things. Nature has no plan, nor does it copy well; hence no living thing is completely the same as others of its kind. Our DNA is subject to continual mutation, enabling generations to evolve within a changing world,’ says Charles Darwin.

Humans possess a dearth of attributes: strength, humility, conviction, harmony, humanity, humor, empathy, or awareness. In this series of hybridized imagery, blended with mythological as well as animal subjects, I try to convey fragmented beings. Each subject portrays a kind of metamorphosis, often having demonic or peculiar anomalies (mostly unseen to the naked eye) that symbolize our behavioral traits, or lack thereof, in society.

These figures may seem provocative, disobediently eating into a confined page, subjects floating in blank space as if cut from their environment, and thrown into the abyss. They are humanoid enough to be seen as sentient, yet also inhuman enough to appear aloof. I intended to create a feeling of transcendence, searching through underlying surfaces of human nature to extract something universal for many to relate to. My mission is to make the soul more perceptible and the process meditative by using the inner eye of contemplation.

Though history is written by the victors, there are many heroes who lay forgotten, though their untold narratives continue to contribute to our modern human experiences. Often overshadowed by more prominent figures, these unsung champions played pivotal roles in shaping the course of history. Their stories offer valuable lessons, showcasing resilience, courage, and the often-overlooked contributions that have influenced societal progress. Recognizing and remembering these forgotten heroes, steeped in religion, culture and mythology, not only honors their legacy but also provides a more comprehensive understanding of the complexities and diversity of human achievements.

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