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Author Topic: Your Favorite Modern Deity Renditions?  (Read 18611 times)
NibbleKat
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« Topic Start: March 24, 2011, 02:04:19 pm »

While I am nowhere near a Kemetic follower, I do have an interest in the Egyptian pantheon. As an artist, I am always looking for modern interpretations of deities, and I stumbled across this one on DA by sekhmet-the-flame of Sekhmet:

http://sekhmet-the-flame.deviantart.com/art/Sweet-Kiss-202050001

And I think it's a fantastic rendition.

Sphinxmuse on DA also has several pieces that involve the Netjeru in modern-day settings, such as this one of Osiris/Ausir:
http://sphinxmuse.deviantart.com/art/Wesir-Usar-Osiris-29848660

And Wepwawet:
http://sphinxmuse.deviantart.com/art/Wepwawet-Upuat-Apuat-32481883

(if you want to see her stuff in her gallery, remember to click the "browse" link at the top left in the main gallery bit, otherwise most of her stuff will remain hiddden.)

SO. 

What interpretations do you like? Or do you prefer the ancient iconography? Share!



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« Reply #1: March 24, 2011, 03:45:47 pm »

What interpretations do you like? Or do you prefer the ancient iconography? Share!

I love seeing modern interpretations and art of ancient deities, though I prefer the ancient iconography for actual religious purposes. This is my favorite rendition of Sekhmet that I've seen so far: http://silverbobcat.deviantart.com/art/Sekhmet-the-Mistress-of-Dread-74233700

And this is my favorite of Anpu, if I ignore the blood on the hands: http://njoo.deviantart.com/art/The-Anubis-Murders-54518704
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« Reply #2: March 24, 2011, 03:55:42 pm »

I love seeing modern interpretations and art of ancient deities, though I prefer the ancient iconography for actual religious purposes. This is my favorite rendition of Sekhmet that I've seen so far: http://silverbobcat.deviantart.com/art/Sekhmet-the-Mistress-of-Dread-74233700

And this is my favorite of Anpu, if I ignore the blood on the hands: http://njoo.deviantart.com/art/The-Anubis-Murders-54518704

Definitely hadn't seen that first one before, though I know of that artist! That's a gorgeous one.
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« Reply #3: March 24, 2011, 04:14:16 pm »

What interpretations do you like? Or do you prefer the ancient iconography? Share!
While as an artist you obviously have a great deal of talent and skill, my own preference is for the traditional images of the Netjeru. I hope someday that you would expend as much energy in creating the traditional renditions as you have in creating these modern ones. For myself showing Bast as a counter-culture sex kitten, with,as you say, some BDSM references, or showing Ra as a truck driver just falls flat. The attempt to be modern and up-to-date seems a bit forced--what is fashionable or "in" in this era may be horribly out-of-date in just another decade,
let alone hundreds or thousands of years. The images produced by the ancient Egyptian artists in temples and tombs show a stateliness and nobility that transcends any one time period. I am aware that some folks just don't like formality, but that is exactly how the ancient Egyptian artists depicted their gods. I do hope you'll work on creating traditional images and allow us to enjoy your work. Good luck to you!
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NibbleKat
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« Reply #4: March 24, 2011, 05:47:52 pm »

While as an artist you obviously have a great deal of talent and skill, my own preference is for the traditional images of the Netjeru. I hope someday that you would expend as much energy in creating the traditional renditions as you have in creating these modern ones. For myself showing Bast as a counter-culture sex kitten, with,as you say, some BDSM references, or showing Ra as a truck driver just falls flat. The attempt to be modern and up-to-date seems a bit forced--what is fashionable or "in" in this era may be horribly out-of-date in just another decade,
let alone hundreds or thousands of years. The images produced by the ancient Egyptian artists in temples and tombs show a stateliness and nobility that transcends any one time period. I am aware that some folks just don't like formality, but that is exactly how the ancient Egyptian artists depicted their gods. I do hope you'll work on creating traditional images and allow us to enjoy your work. Good luck to you!

Um. This isn't my work. It's someone else's.
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« Reply #5: March 24, 2011, 06:22:47 pm »

Um. This isn't my work. It's someone else's.
Thank you for the clarification. My impression, however, still applies to the artwork depicted.
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« Reply #6: March 24, 2011, 06:48:04 pm »

Thank you for the clarification. My impression, however, still applies to the artwork depicted.

Smiley I completely understand!
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« Reply #7: March 25, 2011, 09:43:13 pm »

What interpretations do you like? Or do you prefer the ancient iconography? Share!

It depends how the artist goes about it.

I have seen some beautiful "modern" imagery of the Netjeru.  For example, I love Sekhemib-Nymaatre's avatar.  I like NibbleKat's work with Het-Heru and Bes:

http://nibblekat.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d380g2g
http://nibblekat.deviantart.com/gallery/?offset=24#/d25m4en

I do not think we should bind ourselves strictly into the traditional forms of artwork.  The Gods gave us creative abilities and I think they are honored when we use those abilities to express our devotion to them.  That means allowing for some degree of fluidity.  

I'll draw a comparison to Christian art.  I grew up Byzantine Catholic on Mom's side, very traditional Roman (Tridentine) Catholic on Dad's side.  (this may explain my penchent for formal ritual Wink ).  I spent a lot of time in different churches with vastly different artwork.  Compare a Byantine mosaic icon to what you see in your local Roman Catholic church and you'll see what I mean.  Artistic depictions of my parents' God and the saints have varied across history and culture, and I think this is a good thing.  All of these images were made with care and reverence.  I see no reason why it should be different for us with the Netjeru, in our modern world, where we are exposed to a variety of artistic influences.

At the same time, there is such a thing as taking it too far.  Ra the trucker and Het-Heru the cow girl don't really inspire reverence or devotion to me, at all.  To me, that is exessive anthropormization of the Gods.  It makes things too "cutesy" for my taste, taking all the awe and mystery out of the image.  That's not what I want from my interactions with the Gods, and it's not the type of image I would want for my shrine.

Also, I get where sphinxmuse was going with Ausir, and it's a nice thought...but the guy in the trench coat just looks creepy to me.  Not someone I'd want to meet in a dark alley.   Tongue
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« Reply #8: March 26, 2011, 06:20:28 pm »

It depends how the artist goes about it.

I have seen some beautiful "modern" imagery of the Netjeru.  For example, I love Sekhemib-Nymaatre's avatar.  I like NibbleKat's work with Het-Heru and Bes:

http://nibblekat.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d380g2g
http://nibblekat.deviantart.com/gallery/?offset=24#/d25m4en

I do not think we should bind ourselves strictly into the traditional forms of artwork.  The Gods gave us creative abilities and I think they are honored when we use those abilities to express our devotion to them.  That means allowing for some degree of fluidity.  

I'll draw a comparison to Christian art.  I grew up Byzantine Catholic on Mom's side, very traditional Roman (Tridentine) Catholic on Dad's side.  (this may explain my penchent for formal ritual Wink ).  I spent a lot of time in different churches with vastly different artwork.  Compare a Byantine mosaic icon to what you see in your local Roman Catholic church and you'll see what I mean.  Artistic depictions of my parents' God and the saints have varied across history and culture, and I think this is a good thing.  All of these images were made with care and reverence.  I see no reason why it should be different for us with the Netjeru, in our modern world, where we are exposed to a variety of artistic influences.

At the same time, there is such a thing as taking it too far.  Ra the trucker and Het-Heru the cow girl don't really inspire reverence or devotion to me, at all.  To me, that is exessive anthropormization of the Gods.  It makes things too "cutesy" for my taste, taking all the awe and mystery out of the image.  That's not what I want from my interactions with the Gods, and it's not the type of image I would want for my shrine.

Also, I get where sphinxmuse was going with Ausir, and it's a nice thought...but the guy in the trench coat just looks creepy to me.  Not someone I'd want to meet in a dark alley.   Tongue

Thank you for the nod. 

I see whre you are coming from and (obviously) agree that we should have a bit of modern fluidity with our deity images.

I am curious as to what sort of reaction would come from folks under different pantheons were there any images like sphinxmuse's around? Hermes,for example, tends to lend himself well to that sort of thing on the net. Going only by the responses here, I get an impression of extreme reverence ...not extremIST, mind you... do you think this is typical of Kemetics, or no?

And yes, Ausir does look a bit like a dirty old man there, heh.  I like the idea, though, despite that.
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« Reply #9: March 26, 2011, 07:46:43 pm »


I am curious as to what sort of reaction would come from folks under different pantheons

I actually think that most of the orishas wouldn't mind pop culture type modernizing images. If there's one thing that the majority of them don't like is to be out of style or disconnected. Aside from a few like Aganyu, Oggun, and maybe Osain who like their seclusion and privacy, the rest would like an innovative approach to their images as long as they are still appropriately representative and still respectful. I can totally see Oshun done up like Lady Gaga or Yemaya depicted as a modern day Oprah.
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« Reply #10: March 26, 2011, 08:33:56 pm »

What interpretations do you like? Or do you prefer the ancient iconography? Share!

Obligatory mention of Ravenari's "As Totem" versions of:

Set.
Bast-Mut.
Wepwawet.

I especially like Bast-Mut and Wepwawet. (I would like the Wepwawet one, I can *has* the Wepwawet one Tongue)


I find I really like a lot of the "out there" modern concepts of the Gods. I see them as on the extreme end of non-static. I'm perfectly happy to see Wepwawet as a biker in leather, or whatever. Some Gods are more traditional just through their personalities, but that's fine. And either way the art makes me squee.

I wouldn't use most of it in shrine though. I identify with traditional, or fairly serious imagery for that.
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« Reply #11: March 26, 2011, 08:47:43 pm »

Going only by the responses here, I get an impression of extreme reverence ...not extremIST, mind you... do you think this is typical of Kemetics, or no?

I finally took a look at sphinxmuse's other artwork beyond Wesir and Wepwawet and I have to agree seeing Ra as a truck driver and Het-heru as a cowgirl doesn't exactly show Them the reverence They deserve. When I imagine the Egyptian Gods, there is an overwhelming sense of a regal nature, no matter the deity and His or Her associations. I think people, no matter their path, see their divine as... well, divine, but I get a sense of king/queenliness from the Egyptian pantheon, too. Without that feeling, something is amiss.

I don't know if that opinion applies to other Kemetics, though.
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« Reply #12: March 26, 2011, 09:41:26 pm »

When I imagine the Egyptian Gods, there is an overwhelming sense of a regal nature, no matter the deity and His or Her associations.

Agreed.

I want images that inspire awe.  When I saw "awe", I mean a sense of something greater than myself.

When I think about Sutekh, I think about the raw power of a thunderstorm.  When I think about Nut, I think about laying on the ground, staring at the sky and feeling like I'm falling into an abyss of starlight.  When I think of Ra, I think about the colors of the sunrise and the fierce heat of the desert.  The Gods are not synonymous with those forces of nature, but their power emanates through them.  To me, such phenomenological experiences cannot easily be captured within form.  The ancient icons are not the "true" face of the Gods.  They are a composite of images that allude to truths about Them.  I believe we can come to understand the Gods by contemplating those images.  There is some danger that if we radically alter those images, we'll lose sight of part of the mystery. 

As I said, I do not expect all images to be *completely* traditional.  For example, I don't have a problem with depicting a God face forward.  I like images of Netjeru performing some action that's consistant with their hymns or mythology, even if that wasn't shown in ancient art.  At the same time, I don't adopt an "anything goes" mentality.   I feel like some modern artists attempt to encapsulate the experience of Divinity in a convenient form.  It doesn't sit well with me. 

I find it important to honor the Gods as mysteries, and to admit that I don't understand everything.  When I do this, I feel more open to insights I might not get if I filtered everything through my own preconceptions. 

If I want to experience a sunrise, I don't want to jump to some quick, cute, easy description of what it is.  I need to sit and meditate on it, letting the experience unfold for awhile.  To me that's where awe comes from. 

I just can't see my sunrise through the form of a truck driver.  Ra is bigger than that, and that's important for me to remember. 

I dislike the image of Ausir as "old pidgeon guy" for a different reason.   If it were just an image of Ausir feeding the soul of someone recently deceased, then I think that would be very appropriate.  But why is he being shown as a decrepit old man?  This is inconsistant with the ancient practice of depicting the Gods as whole and complete.   Even though Ausir died, he wasn't shown as being killed in ancient art.  To depict him that way would have been bad Heka.  So, I don't like seeing him as an old guy with a cane.

And, again, he still looks creepy.

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« Reply #13: March 28, 2011, 05:11:32 pm »

"Here, little bird.  Want candy from a stranger?"

XD!

I like seeing new forms of a classic. We constantly re-invent things, I think the images of the gods aren't immune to this. Mind you, there are pieces I've seen where my response is "...really?" or it doesn't make sense to me. However, I think the gods have a humerus side, and I think we're allowed to show this in art.

http://von186.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d30oi9l

Even though the piece is less than formal, does it not show some form of the god? Set can be a bit of a diva. It's a part of his nature. It makes something that is overwhelming a bit more approachable. I think that is sometimes needed to help broach that gap- esp with the more primeval, overwhelming gods in the pantheon.

One of my favorite modern depictions of hte gods is:

http://browse.deviantart.com/?qh=&section=&q=osiris+family+portrait#/d184tiy

I would use either in my shrine, because I think they can create a different vibe for the god(s) in question. I think that modern art helps to widen the scope of ways I can see the gods, and how they can be brought into my daily life.

But that's just me.

-Devo

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« Reply #14: March 28, 2011, 05:40:41 pm »

XD!
I like seeing new forms of a classic. We constantly re-invent things, I think the images of the gods aren't immune to this. Mind you, there are pieces I've seen where my response is "...really?" or it doesn't make sense to me. However, I think the gods have a humerus side, and I think we're allowed to show this in art.
http://von186.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d30oi9l
Even though the piece is less than formal, does it not show some form of the god? Set can be a bit of a diva. It's a part of his nature. It makes something that is overwhelming a bit more approachable. I think that is sometimes needed to help broach that gap- esp with the more primeval, overwhelming gods in the pantheon.
One of my favorite modern depictions of hte gods is:
http://browse.deviantart.com/?qh=&section=&q=osiris+family+portrait#/d184tiy
I would use either in my shrine, because I think they can create a different vibe for the god(s) in question. I think that modern art helps to widen the scope of ways I can see the gods, and how they can be brought into my daily life.
But that's just me.
-Devo

I think what this thread is helping me to see is that, for ME, at least, there are definitely modern interpretations of deities that I like.  There are even ones that are not per the norm, such as sphinxmuses' that I like.  Then there are ones that I think are inappropriate.

However, I think that there can be a separation of appropriate images and when and where they are appropriate.  While I wouldn't use an image such as the first one here that you posted on my altar, the chibi form one, I think that it can be amusing. I think that if the deity has a sense of humor, too, it's more appropriate than for a deity that is always serious and demands reverence.

For me, altars are for serious images, even for deities that are much less serious than others.  Outside of that, there are many images that I think some of the deities might find amusing, too... but not every deity. I can't speak for them, however, so it's just total speculation, and I could be way off.

Now, to add to what I consider modern and appropriate, here's one by T-K Labus that she did for me when I thought I was going to worship Hathor... before I even KNEW there was a Kemetic path. 

http://agaric.deviantart.com/art/Kat-s-Hathor-89107231

I still have this one, but it's no longer on my altar, since I don't follow her at all... and I think it's a perfectly acceptable rendition of her, one that can even be considered reverential and loving.
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