Art Inspired By Faith

From dust to dust. Or in this case from the clay dredged from the bottom of the holy Ganges, and back to its murky depths.

The journey of Goddess Durga, believed to be her annual sojourn in her maternal home, is a metaphor for impermanence and temporality. Of all life. But also, in the sacred ritual that replays year after year, of death.

It begins here in Kumartuli (Kumhar = potter & Tuli = village)  where hereditary artisans manipulate and mould a combination of straw, clay, rice husk and fine muslin, into her divine form. Culminating in the ritualistic filling in of the pupils, that assigns divinity and symbolically brings her to life. As the slayer of the buffalo horned demon  ‘Mahishasurammardhini‘  or any of her one thousand forms.

Her ‘life’ on earth is celebrated but short-lived. On the 10th day of Durga Puja, every single clay depiction of her image in every household, created with such love and devotion, has to be relegated to the holy river.

With pomp & great ceremony. And with joyous anticipation of the next cycle.

Life goes on……..

Kumartuli - Kolkata

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PS: Many thanks to Manjit Singh Hoonjan for making our walk through the divine tableaux of this potter’s village, so memorable.

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