• Dilemma 1
  • Dilemma 2
  • Dilemma 3
  • Dilemma 5
  • Dilemma 6
  • Dilemma 7
  • Dilemma 8
  • Dilemma 9
  • Dilemma 10
  • Dilemma 10 (detail)
Ingrid Lahti - Dilemma


I developed this suite of prints as part of A Book of Ours, a portfolio of prints by members of the Seattle Women's Caucus for the Arts. The Dilemma prints represent another look at Adam and the Serpent, taking their cue from the feminist imagery and content of the group portfolio.

The prints were relief-rolled from a photo-etched copper plate onto Kitikata paper.

My haptic responses to the sensual male body and the boa constrictor suggested that by combining them I could capture the feelings of temptation of forbidden pleasure, and reopen the question of responsibility in the Garden of Eden. The image attracts and repels in equal measure. This feeling of several elements working together and against each other in a single image sums up some of the essential issues of my ongoing work, evoking the sense of ambiguity and confusion that anyone with even modest awareness feels and lives with continually.

— Ingrid Lahti

"The menace flows in the opposite direction in twelve-year-old Ingrid Lahti's airless 1955 crayon drawing of a boa constrictor wrapped around an overhead branch, while a lion's back peeks over the high grass below. It's a Nordic dream of the equatorial jungle, the coil and fang claustrophobia of a sweaty Eden.
"The large serpent reappears in her unsettling 1994 etching Dilemma, depicting a closer encounter with the other. Here the writhing purveyor of knowledge and sin has slithered from the mind's eye down into the throat. Merged with, and emerging from the neck of a human torso, as if it were a column of rising breath flowering in the voice itself, the snake has swallowed the figure's head and taken over its lungs, larynx, and face like some invading body snatcher."

— Jake Seniuk, "The Seeds of Creativity," in On Center, Vol. XIX, No. 6, PAFAC