Y. G. Srimati Indian

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In January 1980 Srimati began a large-scale work devoted to the goddess Kali. In her diary entry for May 19, she wrote: “I painted the whole day and completed the painting Maha Kali. Thank God Mother has blessed me.” Mahakali is a powerful cosmological evocation of the mighty goddess, a vision of frightful energy wrought through devotion. The ten-armed Kali strides across a turbulent landscape, a skirt of human skulls rattling at her waist. Srimati described being awakened at night by the crushing sounds of the skulls in Kali’s skirt and hearing them until she finished the painting. The degree of the artist’s emotional immersion in the imagery of Kali is evident in the finished work, a painting of great authority that conveys an almost subliminal understanding of the power of the goddess.

Mahakali, Y. G. Srimati (Indian, 1926–2007), Watercolor on paper, India

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