Gabrielle Tesfaye’s “The Water Will Carry Us”


In the article “Yoruba Orishas and Black Mermaids Come to Life in This Powerful Stop-Motion Film,” Afropunk features Gabrielle Tesfaye’s short film The Water Will Carry Us. As the artist’s page describes, “Gabrielle Tesfaye is an interdisciplinary artist versed in painting, animation, film, puppetry and interactive installation. Tesfaye is raised in America as a first-generation, to an Ethiopian father and mixed-heritage Jamaican mother, currently based in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Her extensive international travel and exposure to multiculturalism in her life, echoes itself in her mixed media approach to art making and cross-cultural content.” Afropunk writes:

‘The Water Will Carry Us’ is a gripping, powerful film that tells the story of stolen Africans being thrown from the slave ship during the Middle Passage. But upon crashing into the waves, the unimaginable happens with Yoruba Orishas dwelling in the waters save these spirits. With the use of some gorgeous stop-motion animation, Gabrielle Tesfaye brings the mythology of mermaids and Orishas to a screen near year.

“For a long time now I have been called to create a film of our ancestors stolen from Africa, and thrown overboard the slave ships,” Gabrielle Tesfaye tells Afropunk. “I chose to combine my painted puppets in stop motion and live ritual footage, to make it relatable, and show the magical workings of the spirit realm and past through the animation. My hope for this film is that it tenderly touches all hearts within the African Diaspora, and a remembrance that even in our heaviest pain, we have never been alone.”


For more on her work, see @tesfayetra

Also see related article,

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