The Dark Mother

Myths and Legends: International Artist Biennial.
Print making Books Exhibition, BEND, Oregon—A6 

This biennial exhibit explores the traditional narratives explaining natural phenomena through symbolism; delves into the inspiring achievements of individuals passed down through the generations; and investigates the contemporary urban legend, a cautionary tale containing elements of mystery, humor, fear or horror. Artist books use the traditional book form as a departure point. Usually one-of-a-kind creations, artist books may use hand writing, calligraphy or letterpress, and typically include art elements such as paintings, photographs, collage, drawing, or prints. Artist books are often rendered in sculptural forms and encourage a different style of interaction from the viewer.

This international exhibit includes book artists from across the United States as well as India, United Arab Emirates and Canada. Artists were challenged to create a book on the theme of myths or legends (real or imagined). Juried by Laura Russell of 23 Sandy Gallery in Portland, the resulting exhibit runs the gamut from native American stories out of Novia Scotia to an examination of the Indian goddess of the apocalypse, Kali.

Indian Goddess of apocalypse ‘Kali’ also called ‘The Dark Mother’ is a demon slayer. Kali in Sanskrit means ‘she who is black or death’. Her bluish-black complexion symbolizes comprehensive nature. Strong motherly figure embodying feminine energy, her primordial nudity depicts freedom from illusion. Multiple armed her fearful symmetry portrays the dance of death, wearing a garland of decapitated heads signifying action of karma; red lolling tongue consumes evil/good. Blood-dripping sword denotes knowledge abolishing false consciousness (the severed head). Worshiped on a new moon night her rituals involve Tantric iconography and symbolism.

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