Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Beautiful Bodies: Mermaids

I've always loved mermaids.  I associate them with a desire to surrender to the ocean of life and as reminders that we have the power to dive deep and communicate with the undercurrents of the psyche and bring the wisdom gained back to the surface of our awareness.

A great book about Mami Wata is this one titled Mami Wata: Arts for Water Spirits in Africa and its Diasporas by Henry John Drewal

While I was in grad school in California I took a drive down to Stanford to see an exhibit about Mami Wata, a water spirit popular in African diasporas spiritualities who is portrayed as a mermaid.   The exhibit contained traditional and modern artistic offerings about her and the culture around her worship.  The exhibit had a variety of artwork including video installations, dedicated altars, abstract sculptural pieces and woven banners.  It was very beautiful and stirring and helped me to appreciate how intimately the mermaid can touch people's hearts.

One of the first larger designs I made when beginning my Beautiful Bodies series was a mermaid. Over the years Ive painted this design over and over and eventually worked out three different mermaid poses I liked working with.  I've even done a few versions of a larger banner painting with all three floating together surrounded by little fishy friends.

Here is a photo history of my mermaid skeleton paintings:

This is my first mermaid painting











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