Jeztyrnaq
Performance
Duration: 30 mins
2018

In Kazakh folklore the most important and terrifying antagonist appears in the form of a tall, cold female figure named Jeztyrnaq. She comes at night at the hearth of travelers in the forest and waits until they fall asleep to kill them, cutting their throats with her long, copper nails. Killing Jeztyrnaq herself is possible only by cutting off her nails, which was usually done by the valiant heroes of fairy tales.
This nightmare has been haunting me since I was a child. My dad first told me about her and I could not fall asleep for a long time, catching the creak of her nails in the silence of the streets. Now grown up, I still haven't got rid of insomnia and fear of Jeztyrnaq. From now on I am scared that in one of those nights I will become one of them: tall and cold, standing over the dead man's body.
Performance starts as I am sharpening my nails with an axe then moving the wooden block to the center using it as an altar and sacrificing my nails.

Aïda Adilbek©️2021