Fernand Pierre, Dancing Mermaids
Fernand Pierre: Sirene avec Arbre de Fruits
LaSirene plays a golden a golden flute while her sister keeps rhythm with a drum. Tissaint is a devote of the Goddess of the Sea.
Artist: Yespehat Tissaint
Mami’s Sisters in the African Atlantic
Africans taken to Haiti aboard slave ships brought with them strong traditions of fish-tailed and water-related spirits, which were incorporated into Vodou, a complex and sophisticated religion honoring spiritual entities known as lwa. Water enters the Haitian Vodou cosmology in many ways. Marine spirits like the mermaid Lasirèn symbolize the lwa of the water.
Meanwhile, every February 2nd along the northeast coast of Brazil, descendants of enslaved Africans, as well as many others, turn their eyes and thoughts toward the watery horizon and pray to the “Queen of the Sea,” “Mother Water,” the “Mother of Fish,” Yemanja, seeking her love, support, protection, and guidance.
"Who is Mami Wata? She is Mother Water, Mother of Fishes, goddess of oceans, rivers and pools, with sources in West and Central Africa and tributaries throughout the African Americas, from Bahia to Brooklyn. Usually shown as a half-woman, half-fish, she slips with ease between incompatible elements: water and air, tradition and modernity, this life and the next."— Holland Cotter
Mami Wata: Arts for Water Spirits in Africa and Its Diasporas,” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art, celebrates a goddess and her ripples, 2009
Roudy Azor (b. 1980, Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
Lasirene-marassas trois (Lasirèn-Twins [and the One Who Follows the Twins Making Three]), 2006
Satin, beads, sequins