“Mythical Creaturologist” Iman Joy El Shami-Mader creates an illustrated bestiary of magickal and mystical beings known to the world

Magickal and mystical beings are a vast and varied crew, and tribes around the world have preserved their awareness of these beings through stories and graphical representations over centuries.

Artist Iman Joy El Shami-Mader has called on that wisdom asking people from around the world to share their awareness of magickal and mystical beings so she can add them to her illustrated bestiary – drawing one magickal and mythical creature per day, which she then shares on Instagram.

The self-prophesed “mythical creaturologist” has drawn more than 600 mythical creatures since beginning her task in October 2017. To create her inventory of creatures, Iman Joy El Shami-Mader initially sought information from various sources including the book Phantasmagoria and others, researched online, and tried her local library in the small town of Merano in the Italian Alps.

Over the years her bestiary has expanded since requesting people from around the world send her their local beasties. Among the creatures Iman Joy El Shami-Mader has illustrated include the Rashi, a winged horse from Georgian mythology; the Eyefooters from Botswana mythology, who were a race of men that had their eyes on their big toes instead of on their heads so they could see all the things that were dangerous at grass level; elephant dragons from Nepal, otherwise known as Kishi Malaw who protected sacred temples from natural disasters; and the Aziza, a race of fairy race beings that live in forests, which according to legend from the Republic of Benin, were the first to have taught about fire and its uses.

Some of the magickal and mystical beings Iman Joy El Shami-Mader has illustrated are well-known and others not, and includes creatures that are good, bad, evil or neutral.

In an interview with Atlas Obscura, Iman Joy El Shami-Mader explained: “I am generally a history buff and I love fairytales, sagas, myths and legends. In this already pretty epic realm, these beasts feel even more magical. I find them extremely interesting for so many reasons. They can give you an incredible insight to different cultures—what people were afraid of, and what simply was inexplicable at the time and needed to be put into a physical form.”

Iman Joy El Shami-Mader encourages people from around the world to share their knowledge of local creatures with her by sending an email to: mythical.creaturologist@gmail.com. 

Mythical Creaturologist

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com

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