Pandemic Pandemonium

Pandemic Pandemonium
mixed media on colored paper
25″ x 19″
2020

Mothering in these surreal, off-kilter times, floods my consciousness. It feels like we need multiple hands, tools, and skills to keep any point of balance! Contact tracing some of my imagery: Buddhas, Yoginis, Taras, and Durgas from ancient Buddhist sculpture, and Thangka paintings, are mix-mashed with pop and gaming culture, advertising, feminist and multi-cultural art history.

Some “Ancient-to-Now” specifics:

1) My yogini mama strikes a balancing pose similar to Vajra Varahi, the diamond female Buddha, and replicates the yoga “Tree posture” that I practice as well.

2) I gave eight arms to this protective mother goddess. One arm cuts through ignorance with Manjusri’s sword as she texts “OK” on her iPhone. But all is not OK, as the novel Corona virus and droplets interweave and touch all elements of the composition.

3) Legos and toys clutter the floor, but this super fit mom balances herself on one sneakered foot. Simultaneously, Storm Trooper Lego Minions “juice up” her lifted foot.

4) The broken mirror allows a lotus to bloom thru the cracks in this suspended moment of time. The unknown outcome is being self-recorded by the child clinging to her mother’s balancing leg!

5) There is no rhyme nor reason for including a Lesson’s Motmot bird from a photo taken by my son Paul on a pre-Covid trek in the wilds of Ecuador.

6) Four-armed Nataraja, the Lord of the Dance, also figures into the narrative. While he stomps out a demon, my mama goddess throttles a pangolin, the possible source of Covid-19.

7) Throughout the weeks it took to create this image, I was listening to the Rubin Art Museum video meditation series, looking at Faith Stone’s “Drawing Buddhas and Bodhisattvas,” and continuing my own morning practices of yoga, qi gong and meditation.

8) Under one rainbow, how do we create safety for children/grandchildren, mothers/fathers, sisters/brothers—all beings? I started “Pandemic Pandemonium” on Mother’s Day. My 20-month old daughter Paula died May 16,1964. Although so many years have passed, the knowledge of loss and vulnerability remains in my body. As ever, I turn towards my art to place it, to transform it, and to re-invigorate the dance of life for all of us.

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