09.02.2017 - 05.03.2017

Shahmaran, Kurdish snake goddess, possesses eternal life and wisdom of ages. Legend tells of a young man who stumbled upon an underground cave. Disoriented, his eyes fell upon a beautiful creature in the sultry half-light. She had the body of a snake and the head of a woman. She greeted him genially, but fearful that he would reveal her hiding place, she kept him close by regaling him with sweet stories. Years went by and eventually, once she had no more stories to tell, he wanted to return to his own kind. He had fallen in love with Shahmaran and promised never to reveal her location, and so she let him go. One day his Sultan fell sick, and the only known cure was to eat the flesh of Shahmaran. Reluctantly, he gave away her secret, thus she was captured and brought before the Sultan. Her secret, she revealed, is that whomever ate from her body would be healed, but whomever ate from her head would die. They killed her, and boiled her flesh. Lo, the Sultan ate from her body and was indeed healed. Distraught, her lover ate the poisonous flesh of her head so that he would die too. No sooner had he done this than Shahmaran’s secret was revealed. Her last, parting gift, was to leave a lie as her legacy: instead of dying, her lover received her secrets and her wisdom, and had to live with the guilt and sorrow of her murder forever.

Thea Smith

All images courtesy the artist and clearview - credits: Oskar Proctor .