by Neena Buxani, Council District 10
Acrylic on canvas, 2019
Courtesy of the Artist
Durga Mata is considered a Hindu Warrior Goddess. She is a symbol of Positive Energy and Feminine Power (Shakti). Goddess Durga protects her devotees from negative energy and animalistic tendencies. She is often depicted riding on top of a tiger or lion. The tiger symbolizes unlimited power and sitting on top of the lion symbolizes power over uncontrolled animalistic tendencies. My childhood involved praying to Durga Mata daily. Today, I turn to her in times when I feel hopeless and need to find resilience. This is a contemporary depiction of a Goddess I've loved since childhood.
My parents migrated to the US from India to pursue better opportunities before I was born. They ended up moving to Brownsville, Texas, a border town, when I was about five years old. Although they tried their best to immerse themselves in the Mexican American Culture, they also wanted to preserve their culture and religion. As a result, my parents built a small temple where they hosted religious gatherings for people in the community. I grew up praying to Durga Mata as a child. Twice a year for a week, during a time called Navratri, Hindu’s from Brownsville would come to our house in the evening to share in our prayer to this fierce, yet compassionate Goddess. She has always been someone I turned to for strength when I felt hopeless or out of control. She lit my path whenever I felt lost. This is my tribute to her, a contemporary take on a beautiful Hindu Goddess called Durga Mata.