Akua Lezli Hope
New York, U.S.A.
Yemaya is the Orisha (god) of the oceans, who gave birth to all the world's waters. She is the feminine principle of creation, a mother goddess.
Yemaya is worshipped in the religions of Yoruba, Santeria, Candomble, Umbanda, Voudoun, and Macumba, in Nigeria, America, Cuba, Haiti, and Brazil. Her names include Ymoja, Iemanja, Iamanja, Imanja, Iamanje, Yemanja, Ataramagwa, Yemaya Achabba, Yemaya Oqqutte, and Yemaya Olokun.
Depicted here as merwoman, she is attended by Mbé, the leatherback sea turtle, Lula, the squid and Eja, the fish. Her domain includes rosette and brush seaweeds, corals, urchins, sea stars, jellyfish, and cowries.
This embodies my interest in mythological imagery, symbolism, and traditions from African and Caribbean cultures. I was born on an island (Manhattan), of island people (Montserrat and Jamaica). African visual language expresses the union of human beings and nature. They are part of my thought and art. The creation of this art becomes my ritual, is my work and prayer, that the sea remain clean, healthy, free.