Yemaya is part of a series of paintings called The Heart Imagining Itself and other Tropical Dreams created in the spring of 1992. See book section.
I had just moved back to New York City from Puerto Rico, where I had spent 10 years making art and dear friends. I had moved alone to pursue my art dreams once again in the city where I grew up, after leaving Cuba at the age of seven. I was lonely, elated, and scared. I missed my beautiful island home, and New York City was being its usual oblivious self.
The act of creating these images helped me through this very important but difficult time. Also during this time, I began to fill up my fifth-floor East Village walk-up with small paintings of every tropical being I could summon to my aid. Yemaya's image is particularly important to me.
I had always been drawn to Yemaya, the Afro-Cuban goddess of caring and compassion, and never found an image that seemed true to what I understood she represented. So I painted her. To this day I keep her by me in my studio where I work everyday. Her image brings me comfort, warmth, and life.
Technically she has nothing to do with a digital aesthetic but since she is my most requested image, I decided to make a special place for her here parallel to the special place she has in my studio and in my heart.
Reproductions of this painting are available in different formats. To see about purchasing her image click here.