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Salome Asega and Ayodamola Okunseinde in collaboration with Derek Schultz, Iyapo Films (012), 2016, video, color, silent, 1 minute 27 seconds. From the series “Iyapo Repository,” 2015–. From “MAMI.”

“MAMI”

Knockdown Center

Salome Asega and Ayodamola Okunseinde in collaboration with Derek Schultz, Iyapo Films (012), 2016, video, color, silent, 1 minute 27 seconds. From the series “Iyapo Repository,” 2015–. From “MAMI.”

Organized by Dyani Douze and Ali Rosa-Salas, “MAMI,” an exhibition of work by five artists and one collective—all woman-identified artists of color—was an “offering” to the water deities known as Mami Wata. Often depicted as half-female, half-fish, Mami Wata were central to the precolonial matriarchal spiritual systems of West and Central Africa. Their image eventually spread to the Caribbean via the slave trade, and they are worshiped throughout the African diaspora today. Mami Wata are power incarnated: They reign over fertility, sexual desire, and material wealth, but are also capable of inciting flooding, drought, and impotence. They are harbingers of healing or destruction, and their power is reflected in the history of their diasporic circulation.

This premise prompts an unexpected question: Is goddess feminism making a comeback? Matriarchy, fertility, and the (

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