2011 Student Research Conference:
24th Annual Student Research Conference

Out of the River and into Pop Culture: Indigenous Belief and Foreign Influence in Images of Mami Wata
Jaime N. Chambers
Dr. Julia DeLancey, Dr. Sara Orel, and Dr. Sylvia Macauley, Faculty Mentors

The potent icon known as Mami Wata is truly a deity of the in-between -- alternately represented as an indigenous water spirit, a foreign woman, or a mix between the two, her contemporary visual depiction stems from a continuously evolving blend of African, European, and Indian art. Found in at least fourteen African countries and forty-one cultures throughout the so-called New World, images of Mami Wata serve as a medium for negotiating a changing world, reflecting remnants of a fading tradition and anxiety about the encroachment of "modernity." In this paper I examine how Mami Wata images serve as an expression of larger cultural changes, mediating the tension between indigenous belief and foreign influence in the societies that create them.

Keywords: Mami Wata, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, African studies, art history

Topic(s):Art History
African Studies

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 36-2
Location: OP 2121
Time: 3:00

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