WASHINGTON, DC.- Beautiful and seductive, protective yet dangerous, the water deity Mami Wata (pidgin English for “Mother Water”) is the focus of a traveling exhibition that opened Wednesday, April 1, at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art. “Mami Wata: Arts for Water Spirits in Africa and Its Diasporas” explores 500 years of the visual culture and history of the water spirit that is celebrated throughout much of Africa and the African Atlantic world. The exhibition continues through July 26.
“Mami Wata” brings together both traditional and contemporary art from west and central Africa, the Caribbean, Brazil and the United States. It includes a broad range of arts, from masks and figures to 20th-century altars and ensembles to paintings, sculptures and installations by contemporary artists.