Kali Madonna

2014 Village Bizarre The Rocks Sydney, Australia

For centuries the iconic images of two religious entities in particular, the Madonna or Virgin Mary, and the Goddess Kali have held prominent positions in the spiritual and social construct of Christian, primarily Catholic, and Hindu societies respectively. As a performance artist, my practice questions the motivation, inspiration, and relevance of performance activism in relation to these iconic figures. By employing representations of Kali or Mary, emblematic of religious faith, I investigate the following questions. Firstly, can the artist employ religious iconography in order to engage in social, political, and feminist activism through their work? Secondly, does my research attempt to understand whether censorship, and the rise of religious fundamentalism affect this practice?

Kali Madonna is a synthesis of the Mexican Catholic Madonna and Goddess Kali, inspired by my 2014 visit to Mexico City, where I observed the similarities of Mexican Catholic religious spectacles, that included processions and vivid depictions of the Madonna, Christ, and other saints.

The seven-week installation included seven durational performances each Friday where audiences interacted by offering “petitions” to the Goddess Kali Madonna, which were then ceremoniously sewn on to her costume, while performing a three-hour performance of ritual “actions”.