The Making of Kali Maa

Today, I am going to share the the making of my Kali Maa.

Kali Ma, called the “Dark Mother,” is the Hindu goddess of creation, preservation, and destruction. The pictorial representation of Mother Kali , at first glance, is strange and bizarre to the eyes and minds of westerners. She is the most misunderstood Goddess. I will perhaps share her story in my next Kali Maa post may be in Madhubani style. So, I started my sketch by deciding the layout and the form of art to make this. I choose the line art initially with a mix of Kalamkari. I have recently tried my hands on kalamkari and I am liking what I have drawn. Kalamkari literally means, Kalam – pen and kari – work, i.e., art work done using a pen. Vegetable dyes are used to color the designs applied on cloth. The art is popular in several parts of South India. I am of course not doing it the traditional way.

1 2 3

When I say Kalamkari, I mean their style of making figures, their style has such round and fuller bodies with beautiful eyed faces. I am also fascinated with the single toned shades of colors they use. I read about it and found that the color pattern used in kalamkari is unique and follows different themes. This is one of the main features of kalamkari art. Women figures are always depicted using yellow colour, Gods in blue, and demons in red and green. The backgrounds are generally red with motifs of lotus. However, Kali Ma has a black complexion. Maa’s black complexion means that she is inscrutable and cannot be known by wordly people full of ignorance. Darkness stands for ignorance. I choose a blue black color for her complexion and then picked a very dark grey for the background. By the way, I am using Sharpie to do the outlines and using an acid free Carson for watercolor sheet with acrylic colors.

km1

I took some pictures of the outlined drawing also. It in itself is a complete line art of Kali Maa. So far I was very happy with the way it was coming up. I started adding the colors. Usually the God figures made in Kalamkari are very loving and poise. Kali Maa is represented with perhaps the fiercest features amongst all the world’s deities. Kali Maa’s fierce form is strewed with some awesome symbols. Her three eyes represent the sun, moon, and fire, with which she is able to observe the three modes of time: past, present and future. This attribute is also the origin of the name Kali, which is the feminine form of ‘Kala’, the Sanskrit term for Time. Her white teeth show her inner purity, and her red lolling tongue indicates her omnivorous nature.

km4  km5

Maa Kali wears a garland of skulls and skirt of dismembered arms because the ego arises out of identification with the body. In truth we are beings of spirit and not flesh. It symbolizes that she is completely beyond name and form, completely beyond the illusory effects of maya (false consciousness). Her nudity is said to represent totally illumined consciousness, unaffected by maya. Her sword is the destroyer of false consciousness and the eight bonds that bind us. I knew a few of the symbolization of Kali Maa and read about the rest before starting to make her. I finally chose a shade of yellow/mustard and green for the background and see how beautiful it turned out to be !!!

km9

I just didnt like how the skulls came out to be. Is it looking out of character ??