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contemporary art cultural heritage fine art India Monojit Mondal painting sculpture

MAKING A GODDESS

MONOJIT MONDAL

// Monojit is a research engineer based in West Bengal, India. He considers photography his oxygen in his daily life. He enjoys capturing candid moments in the streets and surrounding areas, which are very lively and spontaneous. Monojit shared with us a set that shows the making of statues depicting the Hindu goddess Kali.

He has been involved in photography for seven years. His goal is to capture emotional and vibrant moments throughout the world in what he calls his “Pandora’s box”.


“ART IS The trio conjugation of heart, soul and mind.”

Monojit Mondal


What draws you to the arts?

“The creativity and spontaneous activity of intelligence of thought to create something very close to the heart.”

What impresses you most about the making of the Kali statues?

“The creativity and precise making capability of the sculpture using clay attracts me most. Creating a goddess and mother out of nonliving things is a very vibrant matter in this type of art. Also, candid moments and colours of every situation are beautiful to me.”

In India, artists create highly stylised and ornamented models of gods and goddesses. These images, statues or idols of a deity or mortal, called “Murti” (literally embodiment) have an important role in Hindu culture. They are usually made of carved stone, wood carvings, metal casting or through pottery.  Murti are supposed to be made according to specific traditional design rules, which recommend materials, measurements, proportion, decoration and symbolism of the murti. They are found in Hindu temples or homes and used for processions and festivals.

Monojit photographed the process of making clay statues of the goddess Devi Kalika (or Kali) in the Indian state of West Bengal. In Hindu mythology, Kali is a goddess appearing as the destroyer of evil forces to protect the innocent. She is the most potent form of Shakti (primordial cosmic energy personified) and also a different representation of the mother goddess Parvati. Over time, she has been worshipped by devotional movements and tantric sects as the divine mother, mother of the universe, adi shakti, or power of origin. She is also seen as the heavenly protector. Hindus throughout India worship her as a mother goddess.

In Monojit´s photographs we see the sculpture of Devi being prepared and readied for honouring. Kali is portrayed mostly in two forms: the popular four-armed form and the ten-armed Mahakali form. In both of her forms, she is described as being black in colour but is most often depicted as blue in popular Indian art. Her eyes are sometimes described as red with intoxication and in absolute rage. She generally has a wild aspect, and her tongue is sticking out of her mouth. Often she is also portrayed standing or dancing on her consort, the Hindu god Shiva, who lies beneath her. 

The photos provided by Monojit document the entire preparation and decoration of the clay structure, just like the creation of a god or mother, providing insights into a vibrant tradition of applied art.


Click on the photos to see the full image.

ALL PHOTOS © MONOJIT MONDAL

To see more of her photography visit Monojit´s Instagram page. You can also look at his Flickr site or his Facebook page.

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