LOOK: This young artist collects every mosquito she kills

Published January 20, 2021, 10:48 AM

by Jessica Pag-iwayan

And here’s the reason why

HOW IT STARTED VS HOW IT’S GOING Young artist from India collects mosquitoes she killed

There’s a lot of bandwagon jumping happening on the internet. From different dares to memes, one will never run out of something to join to during their spare time. One of those trends that become popular is the “how it started vs how it’s going.”

Originally meant to inspire netizens to share photos with their partners from the day they first met to how things are now, this trend has since been creatively adapted into different executions. A 19-year-old design student from Delhi, India named Shreya Mohapatra has taken this challenge to an entirely different level. She shared on Twitter her unique “how it started vs how it’s going” photo, which features her mosquito collection.

Shreya Mohapatra

Her tweet got a lot of attention. As of writing, it has more than 100,000 likes and 25,000 shares. In a conversation with Manila Bulletin Lifestyle, the young artist shares why and when she started what some people have called a “strange” hobby. 

Where the hunt began

According to Shreya, she started collecting and preserving mosquitoes when she was 17 years old. She couldn’t understand, she said, why the blood-sucking insects loves her. 

“I’ve always been targeted by mosquitoes, for some reason. I even had dengue before,” she says. “Since then, I’ve always been really cautious to not get them near me.” 

India has been struggling with mosquito related problems for years. In 2019 alone, the country reported 487,000 cases of mosquito transmitted diseases such as dengue, malaria, and chikungunya.  Shreya had done everything she could to protect herself from this deadly insect until, one night, she had discovered that she has quick enough reflexes to catch mosquitoes using her bare hands. 

“One night, I ended up catching about 33 mosquitoes but I threw them away,” she shares. “The next day, I’ve realized that it is not easy to catch them. I could preserve their bodies and make a collection out of it!”

Since then, Shreya has developed a catching process wherein she will kill them but not squashed so she can preserve the dead mosquitoes.

Organized preservation

In a notebook, she started pasting those corpses in an organized manner, using a number system. “Well, I’ve always been aesthetic and organized in whatever I do, so, I wanted to preserve them in an organized manner with numbering,” she says. 

Shreya’s Instagram account, where she posts her artworks

As an artist, Shreya admits that she has been fascinated with mosquitos long before she developed this hobby. “I’ve always been inclined toward arts and craft, and designing. I am fascinated with everything and I take inspirations from literally everything around me, especially with the nature,” she says. “As a child, I have even sketched a dress inspired from mosquito. I’ve taken color inspiration from chemicals in my school lab.” 

As of now, she has collected 187 dead mosquitoes. When asked what she’s planning to do with them, the design student says she hasn’t really thought about it. 

During her free time, when she’s not catching mosquitoes, Shreya is busy honing her skills and talent. She accepts commission works where she paints watercolor portraits and art journals.