Intercultural Understanding Picture

A pair of unlikely friends, from completely different backgrounds and traditions. They share one thing in common, though: between them, their body count is absolutely staggering.

On the left is my first crack at an interpretation of Sedna, the northern goddess who was said to be the mother of the sea animals. There's a lot of different versions of her story, but they all agree on one thing: her father took her out in a canoe and threw her overboard, and when she tried to cling to the side, he stabbed her hands and cut off three of her fingers. The blood and fingers transformed when they hit the water--first into otters, then into seals, and finally into whales. She sank to the bottom of the cold ocean and became queen and mother of the creatures born from her blood. Suffice it to say she isn't a very friendly type. Here, she's trying to shade her eyes from the sun, but with two fingers gone and a hole right through her hand, it's not really working.

For this picture, I blended the original Inuit legends with some reiterations found a little further south by modeling her on a killer whale, considered a powerful and magical animal by some of the Pacific Northwest and associated traditions. I'm not very happy with it right now (I don't like the hair and the placement of the white eye markings, especially since real orcas don't have those markings on their eyes), so expect to see some redesigns in future.

On the right is the Red Death, taken from/inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's story "The Masque of the Red Death." In the story, the titular Red Death appeared to be a deadly disease in semi-human shape, disguising itself in order to infiltrate a party and strike down those hiding from it. This version is a little more generalized.

The Red Death here is literally an empty suit. He's almost a golem, a creature cobbled together from bandages, armor, and cloth used on a variety of battlefields across the world. He's never been able to quite complete himself, hence the lack of left hand, and his head (a heavily cracked wax death mask from the French Revolution) is in constant need of repair. In a nod to the charming company he's keeping here, his right forearm is made of an Inuit sealskin cast of the kind used during the early 1900s.

Unlike Sedna, the Red Death is a cheerful fellow. Why? There's literally nothing in the world that would be bad enough to bring him down. He's physically constructed of the leavings of battle and disease, with hundreds' of years' worth of war staining his wrappings. He is the worst thing that could happen; compared to that, having any form of existence at all is something to enjoy. Don't mistake cheerfulness for niceness, though: ol' Red can't change what he is . . .

I have no idea why these two are spending time together, or how they could even coexist. There's a third drawing percolating which may help me suss it out . . . But honestly, I think it's just my sense of "holy shit, wouldn't that be cool?" making itself known.
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