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University of California, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA 90024-4201)
Marla C. Berns (Project Director: February 2006 to April 2009)
Mami Wata: Arts for Water Spirits in Africa and the African Atlantic World

Implementation of a traveling exhibition, programs, curriculum resources, and a publication on the various forms of water spirits in Africa and the variety of their derived New World appearances.

"MAMI WATA: Arts for Water Spirits in Africa and the African Atlantic World" explores the remarkable art history and global dispersion of water divinities known as Mami Wata. In Africa and throughout its diaspora, Mami Wata is an important transcultural hybrid with a rich visual culture and history. This dynamic, multi-media exhibition will be the first of its kind to trace the antecedents, evolution, and impact of Mami Wata and her artistic manifestations. It will present over 110 objects from west and central Africa, as well as from the Caribbean, Brazil, and the United States dating from the late 1400s to the present. There are four central components: a four-venue nationally traveling exhibition, a publication, a K-12 initiative, and a diverse range of public programs. Through the exhibition, American audiences will gain a deeper understanding of the devotional lives of many African and African diasporic peoples today.

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism

Museums Implementation

Public Programs

$250,000 (approved)
$250,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2007 – 12/31/2008