Black Mother (1999-2000) is the first part of Abul Kalam Azad’s ongoing series that draws its roots from the classical Tamil epic poetry Silappathikaram, which is believed to have been composed during the Sangam / Early historic period (3rd century BCE to 3rd century CE) by the Cera dynasty’s Prince-turned-Jain-poet Ilango Adigal. This classical text is a poetic rendition of the life of Kannaki and Kovalan, and is presented in three cantos – the book of Puharkkandam deals with the events in the Chola city of Puhar, where Kannaki and Kovalan start their married life, and Kovalan leaves his wife for the dancer/courtesan Matavi; Maduraikkandam is set in Madurai, the capital of the Pandya kingdom, where Kovalan is incorrectly blamed for the theft of the queen's anklet and loses his life, and in revenge Kannaki burns the entire Capital; Vanchikkandam is of the Cera country where Kannaki ascends to the heavens, and a kavu (scared grove) is dedicated in her honor, presumably in present Kodungallur, Kerala. In this Bhagavathy Kavu, during the Meena Bharani festival, the men and women oracles and villagers regard themselves as mother goddess and ritualistically make an offering to the presiding deity. With sword in hand and anger ablaze, the oracles, in various stages of trance, stomp around the Kavu in convulsive movements of frenzy. Locally called ‘Kavu theendal’, this is a continuation of the Sangam period mother goddess cult worship, and one part of the seven day long festival. Abul Kalam Azad's ‘Black Mother’ is a series of medium format analogue images shot in 1999-2000 is a continuation of Abul's cultural search for the archetypal Mother image and a re-discovery of the primordial feminine in the contemporary society.