This is probably the most viscerally gross illustration I’ve ever drawn. Have fun picking up the orientalist and colonialist exotic BS hidden in this.
- I want to point out this…creepy and weird fascination the medieval and early modern West had with the “Turk’s head”. It’s so unbelievable, like, for example in this spread is the Turk’s head pie, which as the name implies, is a meat pie made in the shape of a Turk’s head – drawn to look ‘monstrous’. Here’s an excerpt from the book that influenced my storytelling in Vol II:Which is just one example of the performative cannibalism engaged by the Western World on the ‘Other’, not only through food, but through everything else – like the white male gaze on exotic women (they loved the concept of harems!! URGHH), to putting on the Other’s skin, either through Turquerie portraiture as a status symbol, or like in the case of this Masquerade, wearing Turkish clothes like a costume.Portrait of The Comte de Vergennes in Ottoman dress, 1766
Lady in Turkish dress, 1774
Grande Odelisque, 1814
Throughout time and history, Muslims have been portrayed as monstrous, uncivilised, barbaric by the Western world, despite their love and obsession with its culture that leaked into fashion and literature. So much so, that it eventually coalesced into the first literary vampire, in Robert Southey’s Thalaba (an Orientalist epic that was influenced by the 1001 Nights and the inaccurate understanding of Islam at the time). Which led on to Lord Byron’s The Giaour, then John Polidori’s The Vampyre, all the way to Dracula.
Since, the vampire has been used to confront the Western world’s relationship of the Other. Both its fear – of an infestation of foreignness into local culture – and fascination – the vampire’s alluring sensuality etc.
But the question still remains: who is the real monster? Is it the vampire…who represents the Other? Or is it the West, who strip the Other of their history and humanity, who steal and pillage and appropriate to their heart’s satisfaction, and when done, transform the Other into a villain?
Who is the real vampire now?