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Durga Quilt

The story of Durga slaying the Buffalo Demon is one of the many tales of the Great Goddess — part of the Devi Mahatmya, a song that has been sung to the Goddess since the 5th or 6th century CE. In this song, the ultimate reality of the universe is understood to be feminine. The inspiration for this quilt came from my work in recent years around social and sexual justice issues for women. I wanted to speak with a feminine voice of wholeness and strength in order to resist the systemic forces which continue to silence and harm women. In the Christian tradition, that honor falls to Mary, mother of Jesus, the theotokos (God-bearer), but Mary has, too often in western culture, been co-opted as meek, mild, and subservient. While that characterization of Mary is false, artistically, Durga’s unquestioned power resonated my fully with my continuing fury at the treatment of all women in the world today. This quilt shows Durga at the moment of impact when her spear decapitates the buffalo demon; that is why the demon’s head is upside down and separate from its body.

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