Final result of my year-long Masters project: Mahishasura Mardini, the Hindu myth illustrated and retold. Here’s a summary of the story, if you’re interested:
The Goddess Durga is manifested out of the female aspect of the various gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon. She is created to vanquish a demon who has been granted his wish that he not be killed by a male of any species. In his own eyes, he is practically immortal. He does not think a woman capable of defeating him. But this underestimation of women turns out to be his downfall.
The feminism inherent in this story is quite astounding to me, as it originated roughly 1500 years ago. In addition to being a feminist story, it is also a metaphor for the battle between the mind and one’s supposed higher self: the concept of non-duality, or oneness. Essential Hindu philosophy works on the process of negation, where the primary question is “Who am I?”, to which the mind provides different answers. The response to each answer is “Not this, not this”, until one reaches a state of nothingness. “I am not this or that, I simply am.”
The illustrative style that I used for the story evolved throughout the year. I worked through different sets of experiments until I settled on a single colour: blue, with accents of red. This was perhaps a subconscious choice, but blue in Hinduism symbolises one’s higher faculties and red the more primal faculties. It is also perhaps a visual representation of the concept of non-duality: the evenness of a single colour, with visual disruption brought about by the occurrence of a second colour.