Beautiful and seductive, protective yet dangerous, the water spirit Mami Wata (Mother Water) is celebrated throughout much of Africa and the African Atlantic. Often portrayed as a mermaid, a snake charmer, or a combination of both, she and the “school” of related African water spirits all honor the essential, sacred nature of water. Experience the debut of this multimedia exhibition and explore the visual cultures and histories of Mami Wata through a dynamic presentation of the rich array of arts surrounding her—sculpture, paintings, masks, posters, and more from west and central Africa, the Caribbean, Brazil, and the United States. Let Mami Wata beguile you as she has done to peoples across the globe for centuries!
The exhibition opens with a large video projection by artists David and Hi-jin Hodge called Watertime, to bring the ocean—so sacred to Mami Wata—into the gallery. Against this backdrop a selections of key object provide an overview of movements, images, and ideas that have played major roles in the arts for Mami Wata. These include African images celebrating ancient and indigenous water spirits, as well as global examples that demonstrate the transcultural nature of Mami Wata.
Mami Wata: Arts for Water Spirits in Africa and Its Diasporas
Fowler Museum, UCLA
April 6, 2008 to August 10, 2008
Reception April 5
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