|Date:||3 June 2021|
If you try and charm me, I’ll take a bite out of you. A dangerous serpent illustration, partly inspired by Egyptian feminist Doria Shafik.
About This Artwork
I spend a lot of time on Redbubble, not only uploading art but admiring other people’s art and getting inspired. Well, one of my art crushes is the illustrator KatjaGerasimova. Their specialty is black and white drawings of beautiful and creepy girls. I wanted to do something similar.
I had an idea of a girl with a snake for a tongue. As I doodled this, it seemed to breed several, perhaps contradictory, interpretations. Was it seductive, as my boyfriend thought when I showed him the drawing? He said it reminded him of me when I am being particularly sensual.
Or, was it a rebellion against such sentiment? Having the snake in the mouth so that if anyone else tried to put anything in her mouth, it would get bitten off?
Or was the snake a metaphor for having the gift of the gab?
I wanted the piece to be femininst in nature, as I’m pretty tired of seeing drawings of oversexualised girls just made for titilation with no deeper meaning or respect for the individual. That, plus the snake, led me to looking up about Egyptian feminists. I learned of a woman named Doria Shafik, whose efforts earned women the right to vote in Egypt in 1956. She also stormed parliament and participated in two hunger strikes. What an icon! One of the things that stood out to me about Doria was her very strongly arched eyebrows and overall very neat and refined aesthetic. When she was younger, she participated in a beauty pageant, which “no Muslim woman had ever entered on account of it being immodest” [Doria Shafik: The Egyptian Feminist Forgotten by the West. | The Welsh Historian]. In her world, being beautiful and seeking attention for beauty was in itself a rebellious act. What counts as rebellion will always vary based on the context of the individual. What a fascinating concept.
I put the girl’s head inside an opening made to look like a serpent’s mouth, with her long side bangs emulating fangs. She is in the mouth of the snake – representing society – and to survive, and to get what she wants, she must either charm the snake the lives in, or use her own snake tongue to bite back and demand what she wants.