I prefer Kali to Durga. Why? Since I’m not exactly sure, I thought I’d use the writing of this post to help figure it out.
In Kolkata, Kali certainly has less fanfare than the almighty Durga, but from my vantage point, Kali’s devotees appear to have as much or maybe even more fervor for their goddess. While Durga is considered to be the goddess of supreme power, Kali is thought of as the goddess of empowerment. That strikes a chord in me – copacetic to what I feel and think when making my figurative sculpture in Santa Cruz.
Kali fascinates me — consider her lolling tongue, that rhythmically wonderful strand of severed, grimacing heads around her neck, and her very active gesture of stomping on her consort Lord Shiva (other interpretations are that of accidentally doing so, and also that her foot on his body calms her anger).
Regarding Durga, even with all ten of her hands loaded with weapons, it always appears to me that her lion is doing, well, the lion’s share of the work (sic) when it comes to battling Mahishasura.
Dilipda and his assistants began their Kali in Dilipda’s studio. Once the figures of Kali and Shiva had been formed in straw, they moved them to the street outside of the Shovabazar Rajbari, just next to a tiny Shiva shrine. Over the next several days, a bamboo, cloth and paper pandal was built over and around the figures. I enjoyed observing this process immensely, because simply by being present in the situation, I became part of the rhythm of the street.
The fabulous Kali figure above stunned me outside another shop in Kumartuli! Kali Ma!