This large sculpture was made for Mami Wata, (pidgin English for “Mother of Water”), a charismatic being of great spiritual power celebrated in West and Central Africa and reimagined as deities such as La Sirene (Haitian Vodou) and Yemanjá (Candomblé and Umbanda) in Afro-Atlantic spiritual traditions.
Mami Wata is often associated with water’s sacred, healing power and with love, wealth, and good fortune. This sculpture’s silver high-heeled shoes were restored following the design of a closely related sculpture photographed in a shrine in eastern Nigeria in the 1990s.
Lauren Tate Baeza, the Fred and Rita Richman Curator of African Art, discusses Mami Wata in the film above.
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