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This powerful and alarming image is the most iconic and often repeated scene depicting Kali. I always write something short that talks about my releases, but because the narrative of this image is a compelling story that has been retold countless times for centuries, I thought it might warrant a deeper dive.
The story goes roughly this way:
Durga and a team of goddesses were battling a demon named Raktabija who was rampaging and threatening to destroy the world. They used an assortment of weapons, all of which only compounded the problem and strengthened their enemy because when their weapons cut Raktabija’s skin, each drop of blood would transform into a duplicate of the demon upon touching the ground. Every successful attack resulted in hundreds of new fierce opponents until the battlefield was covered with an army of Raktabija clones.
This angered Durga and the other goddesses, despite her even temper. Eventually, after much conflict and physical violence, they realized they were outmatched. Durga summoned Kali (In some versions she simply transforms into Kali), who arrived and quickly killed every one of the clones in an instant. She then decapitated Raktabija and in order to prevent the creation of new clones, she caught and drank every drop of blood before it could touch the ground.
After defeating Raktabija, Kali was in a hateful, angry trance and continued to stomp around the world. Her rage proved more brutal and caused more damage than anything the demon had done. Nothing that Durga and the others tried could calm her, so they went to Shiva and told him that his wife was destroying the world. Shiva went to Kali and tried to calm her down, but his efforts were also useless. He could think of only one way to soothe her and that was to throw himself under her feet to be trampled to death.
This act did disrupt her trance and calm her down and she returned to a more even state and the world eventually returned to a new harmony.
American Contemporary Artist based in Denver, Colorado, whose detailed and intricate work encompasses collage, painting, print making, sculpture, film making and more. A major up and coming artist, Zupa's themes draw from world cultures and iconographies, mythologies, vintage print, Renaissance woodcuts, Pop Culture and literary references to create eclectic, ornate and politically charged artworks. The result is an artwork that uses images, spirituality and revolution from around the Globe in the search of a Universal expression through design, pattern and evocative forms.
The celebration of the most ancient ways of making art are also present - each and every image contained in Zupa's work is drawn by himself by hand, and with his appreciation of the original Flemish woodcut artists of the Renaissance comes a love of original printmaking.
Zupa has collaborated with Shepard Fairey and Obey as part of the Obey Artist Series, and produced poster artwork for the bands Pearl Jam and The Pixies. Zupa also collaborates on works with his artist wife, Arna Miller.