Photo Essay: Ayshe-Mira Yashin

 Art + Descriptions by Ayshe-Mira Yashin

This content includes depictions of nudity & sex

RIOT GRRRL: Riot Grrrl was a 90s underground feminist movement which was largely associated with punk music, a DIY art aesthetic, and anarcho-communist politics. The activism of this movement involved punk music starring women, underground feminist gatherings, and the creation of zines. I was so inspired by Riot Grrrl that I decided to create an art piece inspired by it, with the guitar symbolising the loudness that I think is necessary within feminism. I also chose to depict a goat, associated with the Wiccan horned God. Goats and other horned animals were considered to be the most spiritual of beings, because the height of their horns brought them closer to the spirit. The Horned God is also one of the two primary deities found in Wicca and Neopaganism. One might interpret the goat holding up the microphone as meaning that spirituality and/or nature is a voice for, or in synchronicity with feminism. 

Blossoming: This piece depicts two sapphic lovers engaged in intimacy, intertwined with each other and with the nature around them. The flowers in her hair and in the grass symbolise female sexuality (as opposed to fertility). The cat symbolises intuition and spiritual enlightenment. The ouroboros (the snake eating its own tail) is symbolic of the idea that everything returns to its source, and the concept of a natural cycle (i.e. love or sexual passion). Goats are considered to be a very sacred animal in paganism (with their horns bringing them closer to the spirit realm). The sun in the sky symbolises positivity, warmth, and life itself. This piece explores queer intimacy as a natural, loving, warm and happy concept, rather than being unnatural or sinful, as it has been deemed to be in a homophobic and patriarchal society. 

Sun Salutation: This art piece explores healing, rest, and a journey towards inner peace. This particular illustration is important to me personally, as I struggled to allow myself to rest and enjoy life at a slow pace whilst struggling with anorexia. The woman is in a restful position, in harmony with her body and with nature, symbolic of healing. The ladybird represents youth and good luck, and the cat represents a loving, loyal companion (and is actually my cat, who my mom declared as my "healing cat" when I was in recovery!) The tree symbolises growth and wisdom, and the flowers are symbolic of new seasons and new beginnings. The fairy emerging from the smoke represents the spiritual and/or magic, as my spirituality was also an important asset to my recovery from anorexia. 

Temperance (Tarot card from the Sapphic Enchantress Tarot Deck): This card depicts an angel- woman with calm, serene mannerisms. Her feet are on the earth but also partially in the water, representing her staying grounded, whilst also being “in the flow”. She pours water in between two flasks, representing the flow and alchemy of life (as is the body of water in the foreground). The triangle on her chest also symbolises balance. The halo around her head signifies the fact that she has taken a higher path in pursuit of the true purpose and meaning in her life. The orchids in the foreground symbolizes femininity, elegance, grace and joy, corresponding to the energy held by this card. I chose to depict a trans woman for no reason other than that it felt important for my deck to include a wholistic and intersectional representation of women. 

Dyke Mermaid with Unicorn Fish: In a range of pagan traditions, mermaids represent cleansing and renewal, as well as being tied to the water element. I found the mermaid archetype especially interesting in my artistic study, as it is a literal metaphor for the idea that humans are intrinsically intertwined with other animals (i.e. fish). I also used the word "dyke" in the title as I subscribe to the idea of people reclaiming slurs within movements. The unicorn fish could represent the water element (creativity and emotions), nature, or spirituality, whilst the woman holding the sun and the moon in both hands is symbolic of her divine power. 

Ayshe-Mira Yashin is an 18-year-old lesbian artist and poetess from Istanbul, Turkey, and Nicosia, Cyprus. She is currently based in Cambridge, England, and is a prospective UAL Camberwell art foundation student. Her poetry and art focus on themes of sapphic intimacy, healing and spirituality, with large ties to the occult. She is currently working on her illustrated poetry zine, to be published by Zines and Things, and is also completing her 78-card Tarot deck. She independently runs the Illustration Witch Shop ( where she sells handmade bookmarks, necklaces, stickers, zines, art prints, handmade notebooks, and her major arcana Sapphic Enchantress tarot deck. Follow her on Instagram @illustrationwitch to stay in tune with her art and poetry!

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