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Night Walkers (2021) is a visual interpretation of the many myths surrounding female vampires and female demons, and the cultural impact of these stories on how women are treated and perceived today. 


In this piece, which I made using Autodesk Maya software, I was inspired by the stories of Estries from my own Jewish culture. The Estrie, whose name is derived from the French “”strix” (stree) meaning “night owl” which were similar to succubi as being both beautiful and blood-thirsty favoring babies and young children as prey. Estries were also said that in order to fly, they needed to loosen their hair so one might keep an estrie’s hair bound so that she cannot go anywhere without permission which I thought was also an interesting  intersection between beauty and power, especially with the tradition of shaving your hair and or keeping your hair covered in orthodox sects of the Jewish faith


I was especially interested in the duality thats inherent in the nature of many of these stories, across cultures many vampiric figures are the original femme fatales, who are said to beguile men with their looks. In modern media and folk culture, the vampire continues to be highly sexualized and is as much of an object of desire as it is of danger. Overall the vampire has evolved to become a highly gendered image that is imbued with male anxieties concerning feminine independence, sexuality, and motherhood. Stories concerning female vampires (which in this case can come to encompass demons, witches, estries, succubi, and any other form) were and continue to be used as warnings to not only keep children and young men in line, but also young women whose actions could have incredibly harsh consequences. 


What threat did a woman pose when she embraced her sexual desires, especially when these were experienced out of wedlock or for pleasure rather than for procreation? The idea that women should be mothers can be further analyzed within the vampire canon as many stories depict female demons preying on young children rather than being their protectors. Succubi were said to kill pregnant women and babies out of jealousy or spite.


Where in our collective consciousness does the she-devil live and what does she mean presently? Can she emerge past her misogynistically-prescribed role as a literal “man-eater” to embody a symbol of freedom beyond ostracism?

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