Saturday, January 7, 2012

Mermaid and Angels

This ATC features a woman from a Botticelli painting transformed into a mermaid with two angels behind her.  While I was working on it I was transported to my childhood and began pondering my connections to mermaids, the lake and the sea.  When I was growing up I spent many hours swimming in a lake fed by freshwater springs.  I would encounter all sorts of wetland creatures as I swam, like small schools of fish, turtles and even otters.  Sometimes I would get tangled in the seaweed.  Swimming and rowing were respites from a sometimes stressful life inside the house. I always found wonder and a sense of peace from observing the tides, floating and swimming deep down towards the sandy bottom of the lake.  As I grew older my uncle introduced me to the Ifa path of the Yoruba people and that was my first time of reflecting on the diverse types of mermaids of the spiritual world.  At first he thought I was a child of Oshun, but eventually it was revealed to him that I was child of Yemaya and Olokun, the two water orisha of the upper and lower seas. The notion of connection to Yemaya/Olokun, male/female energy of the sea has always made sense.  I revere the sea and have spent many hours when I lived in New Jersey at the shore and many additional hours by the ocean in La Jolla and Del Mar California, I was even married overlooking the sea.  I have done seascapes and drawings of the sea, fish, and shells alone and in combination with self-portraiture.  I feel an immense pleasure, satisfaction and sense of peace when I am next to bodies of water, large or small—even streams.  When I saw the mermaid images offered by Art Chix Studios I knew I had to have them to work into my art.  Mermaids are mysterious and have held a power over our psyches historically.  They seem to evolve and change within a cultural and historical context but they also always seem to pop up in our various art forms.  I find it interesting that in parts of Africa, mermaid spiritual beings, Mami Wata are depicted as being White and they are believed to be foreign beings that travel mysteriously into the African waters.  I enjoy the idea of bringing together angels and mermaids while contemplating the spiritual nature of each in a single piece.  In this ATC, the angels are looking out towards the mermaid with the same wonder and awe and that many of us feel towards them.

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