Dirty Girl

Dirty Girl
44 x 182 inches
Dirt, gum arabic, aluminum panel

"There are things you can do in and with dirt that will ensure human survival. Embodied knowledge that could provide answers to questions...

You have to want to get in the dirt.
Are you someone who can walk barefoot in it?
Can you make a solid mudpie from it?
Do you need gloves to keep dirt from getting under your nails?

Whatever the answers, never fear getting dirty...

Use dirt for what it was originally meant for:
to grow a thing...to produce something"

        -- Excerpt from Dirty South Manifesto by LH Stallings

মাটি (Maa-Ti); dirt, mud, clay, dust, ground, land, earth
that was my nickname as a child.
Despite the virulent protests of relatives,
How can you call your daughter dirt?

But my parents remembered songs to the goddess Kali,
Shyama Sangeet (Songs to the Dark One)

মায়ের মূর্তি গড়াতে চাই
মনের ভ্রমে মাটি দিয়ে
মায়ের মূর্তি গড়াতে চাই
মা দেখি কি মাটির মেয়ে
মিছে ঘাঁটি মাটি নিয়ে
I mistakenly want to make a sculpture of my mother,
out of mud.
Is Ma nothing but a dirt girl?
I toil in the earth down below to make her,
in vain.

A Sanskrit verse on Kali,
in one of her ten forms:

प्रत्यालीढपदां सदैव दधतीं छिन्नं शिरःकर्त्तृकां ।
दिग्वस्त्रां स्वकबन्धशोणितसुधाधारां पिबन्तीं मुदा ॥

I meditate on Chinnamasta,
Who stands naked, with her left foot extended forward;
Always holding in her left hand, her own severed head.

I meditate on myself as mati, I meditate on women as painters of self portraits,
I meditate on the human as Chinnamasta