“Mami Wata” figure, Igbo artist


This large sculpture was made for Mami Wata, pidgin English for “Mother of Water,” a charismatic being of great spiritual power celebrated in West and Central Africa and reimagined as deities such as La Sirene (Haitian Vodou) and Yemanjá (Candomblé and Umbanda) in Afro-Atlantic spiritual traditions. Mami Wata is often associated with water’s sacred, healing power and with love, wealth, and good fortune. This sculpture’s silver high-heeled shoes were restored following the design of a closely related sculpture photographed in a shrine in eastern Nigeria in the 1990s. Lauren Tate Baeza, the Fred and Rita Richman Curator of African Art, discusses Mami Wata in the film.

Cite this page as: High Museum, "“Mami Wata” figure, Igbo artist," in Smarthistory, September 10, 2021, accessed September 19, 2021, https://smarthistory.org/mami-wata-figure-igbo-artist/.