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Named Sirina, this character is inspired by the Russian mythological creature “Sirin”, a bird-bodied woman that is the equivalent to the western siren. She’s the carrier of tradition and wisdom.
Named Tul’, this character is inspired by the Kazakh version of a pegasis called the “Tulpar”, the mythological creature on the Kazakhstan emblem/coat of arms. Her bow and arrow reflect the nation’s nomadic culture.
This illustration is about people attempt and “guess” the ethnicity of mixed kids, and often end up incorrect.
Kazakh cuisine is meant to be eaten with ones hands. A lot of doughs are very delicate (especially dough used for the dumpling-like dishes known as “Manti”) and the food rips or falls apart if a fork is used. Tul’ is showing Sirina how the food should be handled.
This illustration is meant to allude to a similarity between the two cultures: both Kazakh and Russian traditional hairstyles feature two braids. Both cultures include a hair ornament at the base of the braid – In Kazakh, it’s known as a “Sholpy” and in Russian it’s called a “Kosnik”
This illustration is about the sharing of culture through wearing the opposite culture’s traditional costume. There is a lot of debate about whether or not wearing the clothing from a culture you don’t belong to is considered ‘cultural appropriation’ but in regards to Russians and Kazakhs, it’s actually considered very flattering and respectful. Tul’ is wearing a Russian dress while Sirina adorns a Kazakh top-piece.
This work refers to language barriers and how people of mixed/biracial descent often only pick up one of their mother tongues (if any). Communicating with others in the language you don’t understand can be very difficult.
This illustrations speaks to the journey of finding ones self and discovering more about both cultures that make up a mixed kid’s identity.