‘Sopera de Yemaya: Ashaba,’ 2020 Courtney Desiree Morris

Sopera de Yemaya is an experimental short film in multiple chapters. Yemaya is the Ocean Mother Orisha (deity) in Santería, an Afro-Caribbean religion rooted in Yoruba culture and brought to the Americas, mainly Cuba and Brazil, by enslaved Africans. Yemaya has many caminos (paths) that represent different aspects of her power and divinity, the different natural landscapes she inhabits, and determine how her devotees and petitioners should engage with her in ritual. These caminos were filmed while Courtney Morris was pregnant and are part of a very personal and deep journey towards motherhood as well as an awakening to the inner forces of spirituality, embodying the divine, and the grounded concerns of becoming a mother in a moment of resurgent anti-black racism, state violence, political instability, and global pandemic.

Ashaba is an adaptation of a praise poem (oriki) for Yemaya. In Orisha cosmology, Yemaya is not only the mother of all the orisha, she is also considered the mother of humanity and all planetary life. This is reflected in the fact that the ocean, which is her body and her kingdom, is understood to be the birthplace of all living things.

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Produced by:
Curated by:
10/05 2021
Courtney Desiree Morris
Sopera de Yemaya: Ashaba, 2020
Single-channel video, color, sound
4 min 26 sec
Music and audio editing by Martín Perna | Camera Crew by Haldun Morgan | Video Editing by Haldun Morgan and Courtney Desiree Morris | Camera Crew Sara Rizik Baer
Commissioned by Thyssen Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21) for st_age

  • Gender equality
  • Climate action
  • Life below water