Updated: Apr 5, 2020

During my travel to Brazil I visited Salvador without any expectations. The city looks like a city in Portugal, with beautiful and colourful colonial houses, cute squares and cobbled streets, but the story behind it is much more interesting. Salvador is known by his black population and african cultural heritage because, during the slave trade, 40.000 slaves where brought to this city. I had no idea how to put that in a painting until one evening, while I was walking next to the sea, I saw a sculpture of her. In the days of famous superheroes, I have to say Yemaya is a missed opportunity to make an amazing heroin. She was standing, tall and strong, above the sidewalk, and she was inspiring.

2018. oil on canvas, 92x73cm

Yemaya's journey

Yemaya arrived all the way from Africa. She is a goddess of the Yoruba religion, she is the feminine principle of creation and the spirit of the moonlight, patron spirit of the women. She is the protector of the children, the fishermen, and all sea creatures. The idea of her and her protection travelled across the ocean and gave hope where there was none.

Finding Yemaya

Symbols of Yemaya

Yemaya is connected to the moon energy and the feminine/maternal energy, as she is seen as the mother of all human beings. The moon, painted in the top left corner, has one half made of a shellanother symbol of Yemaya. Blue is her color as she is a water goddess. The light blue horizontal line running in the middle of the painting symbolizes the sea horizon, under which we can find different sea creatures. On the left of her head lotus flowers, and on the right Cola Acuminata flowers, are both symbols of this goddess. The cowrie shells that decorate her hair, necklace made of 7 blue beads followed by 7 crystal beads that decorate her neck, and the 7 Malawi Cichild fishes swiming around her head are all symbols of Yemaya. She is often represented dropping stones in the water, as she does here.

The name of the painting comes from the way the godess is summoned: Omio Yemaya

The explanation is focused on this specific painting, but to understand where the whole idea comes from, why I did this collection, please read my artist statement on my collection ‘BEAUTY OF US’, by clicking the link:

#yemaya #goddess #beautyofus #petkovicart

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