Infinite Yantras

Anthropology, philosophy, mythology and an early fascination with theatre, especially the ritualistic meditative kind are the roots of my artistic practice. In my work I embody the elements, the earth, the divine seeking deeper spiritual reality through performance art and photography. I turn the camera towards the body and its expressions waiting for revelation, being attendant to any possible transformation; the nuances that might indicate the moment when ‘that other Spirit’ comes through, when the embodiment turns into ‘becoming’, as if the spirit that enters the human vessel was the Hegelian force that wants to explore its potential, consciousness that is the essence and meaning of the phenomenal reality as seen in Hindu philosophy.

In my photography practice I focus on the female body as well as the feminine condition interpreted through the archetypes and ritual. In the series Infinite Yantras I transformed myself into the symbolic representations of Hindu goddesses whose energies are the closest to my own expressions. While western civilisation suppressed the feminine power, casting women off the world stage throughout the entity of the political and religious systems, Hindu philosophy holds a pantheon of powerful feminine deities that work with the male gods in their own chthonic realm and ritual space. Ultimately everything is derived from The One, and the genders merge again in a spiral dance of yin and yang. My research into divine feminine inspired me to visually represent the goddesses each through her symbolic power.

Using their respective attributes such as colour they are identified with, mood, props and facial expressions I embodied the following deities: Saraswati – goddess of art, Kali – goddess of destruction, rebirth and revolution, Lakshmi – goddess of pleasure, ecstasy and creation, Durga which is presented in her two aspects as goddess of protection and war and also goddess of prosperity, and Lalita – goddess of bliss and sexual passion.

In the summer of 2015 I travelled to Dominican Republic and stayed there for a month with a goal to create work inspired by the local nature. I was also voraciously reading about the Hindu goddesses seeking inspiration in their teachings and through evocation of the power of divine feminine energy as represented in Hindu mythology.

While learning the mantras and meditating in the nature I was mesmerized by the light and beauty of the island of Hispaniola and decided to create a series in which I would embody the Hindu goddesses using the natural setting of the local landscape. I happened to found an abandoned house right by the ocean with a beautiful garden and a coconut plantation that I turned into the kingdom of Hindu deities. For a week I would wake up with the sunrise meditating on the beach and chanting the mantras of the goddess which I wanted to evoke that day. Most of the time with an exception of the archetype of Kali, I would use the light of an early morning transforming myself into the goddess, painting my body and searching for props or making them using different parts of the coconut trees. It felt to me as if I was a part of a feminine festival.

I called this project Infinite Yantras referring to the graphical representations of Hindu Yantras – mystical diagrams believed to possess occult and magical powers as if the photos were able to carry the energies of the goddesses.

On a personal level it was also an exercise in self-confidence and self-worth, this project helped me to deal with the feelings of inferiority I suddenly started experiencing after leaving an abusive ex husband. Taking nudes of my own body and then working on them as if they weren’t any longer part of myself made me realise how feminine, desirable and beautiful my body was. That realisation had nothing to do with narcissism since in my head I felt unattractive and I kept on hearing all the negative programming that remained even after I broke up with that toxic man. I needed the strength of divine feminine with its thousands years of spiritual knowledge to regain my powers and self-belief. Photographing my process of embodiment of Hindu goddesses proved to be that creative trance which force and intensity ultimately transformed the way I perceived myself.

A woman who has uncovered and honors her intimacy with the earth through developing a relationship with nature or through the power within her own body carries a wisdom of infinite mystery and potential. She moves through life with one foot in a strange ocean, one on the solid land of her ordinary life. This is not just an idea, but a way to live.

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