Kali is a demon goddess of the Hindu pantheon. Though grotesque in appearance—with black skin, four arms, disheveled hair, and pointed teeth—Kali is the gentlest of the gods. She is a divine protector and liberator. In one tradition, she beheaded a group of thieves for sacrificing a beautiful young Brahmin to her. As the flames engulfed the sacrifice, she came to life and drank the blood of the villains.
Via Kalifornica is watercolor, Sharpie, and gold foil on paper. She is holding a smart phone, severed head, trident, and sword. As Kali’s Western Way, she is the guardian and protector of the road way and of the strange. Her red eyes echo the rage of the millions of commuters represented as skulls (and a blurry roadway) at her feet.
“I have always felt a kinship with Kali. There is something about being different (sometimes monstrously so) that always drew me to her. Her visceral symbols and gentle nature call to me. I chose to represent her as a Trans Woman because I wanted to reflect the feminine aspects of myself in her incarnation. There is a rage-filled part of us all that is just as beautiful and necessary as the joyous. Kali reminds me of that.” — Artist K Ryan Henisey