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During the African Diaspora, slaves had Christianity forced upon them and were forced to abandon the gods and goddesses of their native lands. To maintain their spiritual identity, the slaves used Christian figures as stand-ins for the deities of their homeland. 

This is Yemaya. She is thought to be the Mother of All. She is the origin of all waters – in particular, The River Ogun. The translation of her name means "Mother of all fish." She is Yemaya (or Yemaja), the Nigerian Goddess of the Ocean. This Yuroba Orisha is said to be very nurturing and able to heal infertility in women.

In this painting, Yemaya is depicted as who the slaves saw her as, Mary. I hid the image of the surface of water in the background of the image. She is adorned with white roses and her halo isn't typical gold. Instead, I chose mixed metal leaf, which has bots of gold, copper, rose gold and blue pieces. I wanted the many metallic colors to vibrantly dance atop the blue water.

Parts of her golden cloak are also adorned with the metal leaf. Her blue beads and blue gems are meant to symbolize the ocean, from which she reigns over. Atop her head sits her crown, with part of it subtly broken off. This is to symbolize that a piece of her is broken and lost and her inability to outwardly exist as who she truly is.

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