Sacred Waters: Arts for Mami Wata and Other Divinities in Africa and the Diaspora

Overview

Sacred Waters focuses on the arts, rituals, and religions associated with Mami Wata and other deities in Africa and its diasporas. Mami Wata, pidgin English for Mother Water, is a beautiful, seductive water spirit who brings wealth and good fortune to those she favors. Practices associated with winning her favor, widespread in West Africa and the Black Atlantic diaspora, are explored in 46 rich and perceptive essays by an international group of scholars and practitioners. This book addresses the diversity of ...

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Overview

Sacred Waters focuses on the arts, rituals, and religions associated with Mami Wata and other deities in Africa and its diasporas. Mami Wata, pidgin English for Mother Water, is a beautiful, seductive water spirit who brings wealth and good fortune to those she favors. Practices associated with winning her favor, widespread in West Africa and the Black Atlantic diaspora, are explored in 46 rich and perceptive essays by an international group of scholars and practitioners. This book addresses the diversity of belief and practice, audiences, gender, reception, hybridity, commodification, globalization, dispersal, and religious mutation of Mami Wata rituals. It includes more than 129 images and a supplemental DVD featuring nearly 500 images, several photographic essays, and film clips of performance/rituals, and music. As the first volume to probe the depth and scope of water deity arts and cultures, Sacred Waters is a definitive resource and landmark reference tool for readers in a wide range of academic disciplines.

Indiana University Press

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Sacred Waters is a significant addition to its field of study... The impressive amount of information presented within the essays underscores the scope and diversity of water spirit religions in Africa and the African diaspora....Recommended." —Choice, July 2009

"The wide range of information, writing styles, research method, and intellectual approaches gives the reader a rich view of Mami Wata and related divinities. The included DVD presents additional materials for most chapters—music, spoken word poetry, performance videos, and still images. This multimedia offering complements the collection's diverse and hybrid subject." —H-AfrArts Reviews, February 2010

"[A] major study, not just on Mami Wata, but also a seminal study in the field of African art history as a whole." —Rowland Abiodun, Amherst College

"[It] will serve as the definitive volume on Mami Wata and related deities for many years to come." —Elisha Renne, University of Michigan

Choice

"Sacred Waters is a significant addition to its field of study... The impressive amount of information presented within the essays underscores the scope and diversity of water spirit religions in Africa and the African diaspora....Recommended." —Choice, July 2009

Choice

"Sacred Waters is a significant addition to its field of study... The impressive amount of information presented within the essays underscores the scope and diversity of water spirit religions in Africa and the African diaspora....Recommended." —Choice, July 2009

de Arte
"This book is probably the holy grail of all writins on Mami Wata - it covers a large geographical spread, a large expanse of time and includes a number of different perspectives on this changing phenomenon." —Anitra Nettleton, de arte, No. 80 2009

— Anitra Nettleton

H-AfrArts Reviews

"The wide range of information, writing styles, research method, and intellectual approaches gives the reader a rich view of Mami Wata and related divinities. The included DVD presents additional materials for most chapters—music, spoken word poetry, performance videos, and still images. This multimedia offering complements the collection's diverse and hybrid subject." —H-AfrArts Reviews, February 2010

Rowland Abiodun

"[A] major study, not just on Mami Wata, but also a seminal study in the field of African art history as a whole." —Rowland Abiodun, Amherst College

Elisha Renne

"[It] will serve as the definitive volume on Mami Wata and related deities for many years to come." —Elisha Renne, University of Michigan

J. M. Youmans

Sacred Waters is a significant addition to its field of study: the arts and histories of the Mami Wata spirit and other water deities of Africa and its diaspora. Edited by eminent Africanist scholar Drewal, this collection includes 46 essays written by an international group of scholars, writers, artists, filmmakers, and devotees. The impressive amount of information presented within the essays underscores the scope and diversity of water spirit religions in Africa and the African diaspora. The authors investigate the history of these religions, and also of the related imagery that was first documented in the late 15th century. Today water spirits are widely represented in visual art, film, literature, theater, and popular culture. Together with the supplemental DVD, Sacred Waters features nearly 500 illustrations of water spirit images, devotees, and rituals. Adding a multisensory component... the DVD presents spoken poetry, performance clips, and music. Sacred Waters includes a lengthy reference section and notes about the illustrations and other media. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers. --CHOICE J. M. Youmans, independent scholar, July 2009

de arte - Anitra Nettleton

"This book is probably the holy grail of all writins on Mami Wata - it covers a large geographical spread, a large expanse of time and includes a number of different perspectives on this changing phenomenon." —Anitra Nettleton, de arte, No. 80 2009

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253351562
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2008
  • Series: African Expressive Cultures Series
  • Pages: 708
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 2.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Henry John Drewal is Evjue-Bascom Professor of Art History and Afro-American Studies, University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: Charting the Voyage

1. Mami Wata and the Sierra Leone Diamonds: Wealth and Enslavement in Men's Dreams and the State Economy
2. Enchanted Rivers: True Stories about Water Spirits from the Niger Delta
3. Burumo Painting: Reflections of the Waterspirit World upon the Body of a Waterspirit-Carrying-Woman
4. Water Spirits in Water-less Places: The Case of Madame Sabot
5. Mami Wata, Mr. White, and the Sirens off Bar Beach: Spirits and Dangerous Consumption in the Nigerian Popular Press
6. A Memoir of Mami Wata in Azumini
7. Tale of the Achikobo: It's the Tail That Is Mine
8. Mami Wata, Wealth-Owning Spirits, and Changing Economic Morals in West Africa
9. Congolese Mami Wata: The Charm and Delusion of Modernity
10. Tafisula or the Mami Wata: A Mwondo Théâtre Production
11. A Fish Out of Water: The Inland Migration of the Dona Fish to the Luapula Plateau, Zambia
12. Abidjan Mamiwater and Aba Yaba: Two Profiles of Mami/Maame Water Priesthood in Ghana
13. A Tribute to Mami Wata Vodun Supreme Chief Daagbo Hounon Houna
14. The Laughing Vodou Goddess: A Photo-Essay
15. Mami Wata: The Goddess of Water and Beauty Lives
16. The Mami Wata Phenomenon: "Old Wine in New Skin"
17. Mami Wata, Water Spirits, and Returners in and near the Igbo Culture Area
18. Dada-Dreadlock-Hair: The Hidden Messages of Mammy Water in Southeastern Nigeria
19. Mermaids and Mami Wata on Brassware from Old Calabar
20. The Ejagham Interpretation of a Sculpture of Mami Wata
21. Mami Watas, Miengu, and Mermaids: Water Spirits of Coastal Cameroon
22. Water Spirits and Mermaids: The Copperbelt Chitapo
23. Mummy Wata Goes South: An Interview with a Zulu Devotee
24. "Oh hurry to the river!" uMamlambo Models in the Eastern Cape, South Africa
25. Mami Wata: The Slippery Mermaid Phenomenon
26. Mammy Wata, Inc.
27. Mami Wata: An Urban Presence or the Making of a Tradition in Benin City, Nigeria
28. Mami Wata as a Christian Demon: The Eroticism of Forbidden Pleasures in Southern Ghana
29. Mami Wata: A Vanishing Art in Port Harcourt, Nigeria
30. Mermaids and End-Time Jezebels: New Tales from Old Calabar
31. The Intersection of Evangelism, AIDS, and Mami Wata in Popular Music in Centrafrique
32. The Role of Mammy Wata as an Agent for the Promotion of Ogoni National Identity
33. Of Micro-hydros and Mami Wata: Rural Development Meets Mythological Reality
34. The Bride of the Rain in North Africa
35. Death of the Mermaid and Political Intrigue in the Indian Ocean
36. Somewhere under Dan's Rainbow: Joseph Kossivi Ahiator's "India Spirits" in His Mami Wata Pantheon
37. Inbetweeners: Mamiwata and the Hybridity of Contemporary African Art
38. Jack Akpan's Mammy-Water
39. The Creation and Consecration of a Mami Wata Sculpture
40. Communicating with the Gods: An Altar Dedication to Mami Wata
41. The Ever-Changing Face of Watramama in Suriname: A Water Goddess in Creolization since the Seventeenth Century
42. Saramaka Sea Gods
43. Arts for the Water Spirits of Haitian Vodou
44. Sodo, Haiti, 19972001: The Pilgrimage to Healing Waters—A Photo-Essay
45. Misterios: The Making of a Documentary as a Way of Exploring One's Own Faith
46. Mami Wata—"It's in the Blood": A Personal Journal of Ancestral Resurrection in the Aftermath of Slavery

List of References
List of Contributors
List of Illustrations and Other Media
Index

Indiana University Press

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