Kali Takes Manhattan


Ronda J. is a painter/musician from New York City who wears this beautiful tattoo on her left bicep.

This is the Hindu goddess Kali, who is often associated with death and destruction, although she more accurately represents change.


This tattoo is a traditional image of Kali, with one significant exception. Whereas she is usually pictured standing upon the deity Shiva, this incarnation has her standing on a city aflame. Ronda J. points out that the burning metropolis is New York City.


It should be noted, she points out, that the flames reach highest behind the two twin towers in the lower right section of the tattoo:

This is of course the World Trade Center, but the piece was completed in 1997, four years before 9/11. This makes the tattoo that much more haunting.

This remarkable work was inked by Elio Espana at Fly-Rite Studio in Brooklyn. Work from Elio and Fly-Rite has appeared on Tattoosday previously here and here.

Ronda J. is a self-described Kali-initiate. Hindu mysticism takes on many forms, and I got the distinct impression that her faith in Kali was multi-layered, and by proxy, her connection to this tattoo and its meaning was exceptionally complex.

Thanks to Ronda J. for sharing her tattoo here at Tattoosday!

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