The series, “What Came Over the Waters” began as an offering to the deity of the seas, the Yoruban orisha known by many names and worshipped throughout Africa and the Afro-Caribbean world: Yemoja, Yemaya, Maman de L’eau, La Sirena, or Mami Wata. For this offering we sought out fruits that were part of the so-called “Columbian Exchange,” including sugarcane, citrus, mangoes, pineapple, and plantain.
Making these images was a process of reconciliation. Born on the North American continent, how could we account for the presence of our bodies in a space where our ancestors had never been before? Equally important, how could we reconcile the histories of violence between the ancestral blood commingled in our veins? These questions around identity are often faced by the many people who find themselves within a diaspora of a diaspora (Jamaicans in Canada, Africans in Jamaica). Even so, Jamaica, an island originally inhabited by Arawak people, has only been our ancestral home over the last three hundred years. As such, the ocean unites our ancestral histories, as they were brought over the waters to that island.
Produced in collaboration with In Rapture. Point Reyes, California. October, 2016.
Images from this series were featured in the 2019 exhibition, In The Mix, at The Visual Arts Center at Boise State University, Boise, ID.