ARTHAGS: The mythical montages of Sasha Saben Callaghan

ARTHAGS: The mythical montages of Sasha Saben Callaghan

We are thrilled to present a new artist in our showcased indie artist series, #ARTHAGS – discover the work of Sasha Saben Callaghan.

Sasha Saben Callaghan lives and works in Edinburgh, and is a founding member of Disability History Scotland.

Choose 3-5 pieces you really like…

The images I’ve chosen are from a series I’ve recently produced featuring mythological women and goddesses. Each piece is constructed to challenge assumptions of ‘reality’ and convention.


I made this image when I discovered Durga, the Hindu mother goddess who unleashes her divine anger and powers of destruction against the wicked, so the poor are liberated, and creation empowered. Durga is often portrayed riding on a tiger and I loved the vibrant colours associated with her.


I’ve always been interested  in the myth of the enchantress, Circe, and her ability to transform humans into animals. I saw the photograph of this silent film actress with her ‘don’t mess with me’ face and I knew she would be perfect for the image I had in mind.


Khione is the goddess of snow in Greek mythology. The image here is understated with muted greys and cool blues, reflecting the sense of calm that comes with falling snow and the realisation it can be deadly.


I often begin with a loose idea of what the finished piece will look like. This collage is the first panel of a triptych that grew from the idea of heavenly bodies. The image is built up in a succession of layers, all connected with or symbolising the moon.


In Norse mythology, Hela is the goddess of the dead and queen of the underworld. She is often depicted as having half a body which is beautiful and half rotting flesh. I wanted to use that tradition and create an image which is simultaneously beautiful and threatening.

What threads run through the tapestry of your art?

My background is in publication production, editing and design. As a disabled artist, my aim is to bring vivid and strange imaginings to life. Recently, I have been using a blend of collage and photomontage to create surreal artwork that encourages the viewer to think about difference and see beauty beyond the mainstream.

Current or upcoming projects?

Right now, I’m working on transforming Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ into a collection of collages and blackout poetry.

What are your thoughts on art’s place in society?

Art should be a glittering sword, used to cut down the iniquitous and raise the oppressed.

Best piece of advice you’ve been given (or given yourself)?

I’m not sure whether this can be called ‘advice’ but the inscription over the door of a castle in Kinrosshire reads ‘Dare to Love. Live without Fear’. That sounds good to me.

Where can people find out more about your art online?

There are more examples of my  work on Instagram –  @SashaSaben.