Yemanja – Mother of Mothers

Body painting research

How it all started – Last year one of our associate artists an amazing Brazilian dancer/choreographer and dear friend Adriana was on the Journey of becoming a Mother to beautiful Noah this coincided with the project coming together and we needed some initial images and exploration to push project. Below are some images of the outcome.

Image by Christian Dyson – in collaboration with Cabasa Carnival arts

Painting Adrianna was a beautiful experience she is someone who I love and admire a great deal and to be able to be apart of this process with her was wonderful. It was my first time painting someones whole body and we didn’t fully know how long it was going to take, which did mean at some points I felt under-pressure. The whole experience from start to finish was very powerful, we had brief discussions with Adrianna prior to the paint about designs and what she was feeling about it, however because I know Adrianna I was given artistic freedom to come up with a design which I felt represented who Adrianna was and would evolve into through the life-affirming process of motherhood. For me and Emily our initial thought was Yemanja, the Orixa Goddess of the Yoruba religion. Yemanja is very important to Adriana personally and culturally and Yemanja is the goddess of motherhood, ‘the mother of mothers’, She resides in the oceans and is the female life-force of the world, over-seeing fisherman and their catches and protecting all children.

I wanted my design to represent this, Yemanja is often depicted as a mermaid, and half of Adrianna’s body was covered in scales, but also in my design was the grounding presence of Gaia – Mother Earth. I thinking having the harmonious connection of both powerful entities for me represented the Old Adrianna and the New Adrianna as a mother. The whole process was very beautiful and the experience I think will be a powerful one for Adrianna for years to come and it’s lovely to have such beautiful images to mark the transition.

Image by Christian Dyson – in association with Cabasa Carnival Arts.
Yemanja offering

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