Contemporary votive illustrations: Dolphin wedding

Our exhibition ‘Infinitas Gracias: Mexican miracle paintings‘ has just closed, but we have a few more contemporary votive illustrations to share with you, based on stories submitted by visitors to Wellcome Collection and to our website. Just as Mexican ex-voto paintings were made by painters to tell stories of thanks, these contemporary stories of gratitude involve an exchange between storyteller and illustrator.

Melanie Winning: Dolphin wedding

Melanie Winning: Dolphin wedding

Melanie Winning’s latest illustration is for this story:

When my fiance and I decided to get married on the beach in California (where he’s from), I said, “Wouldn’t it be great if a dolphin or a whale turned up as we get married?” He laughed and told me that that would be highly unlikely. On the night before my wedding, 3 August 2011, I had a very vivid dream. In the dream, my father, who passed away in October 2010, came to me and said, “You’re getting married tomorrow, eh?” I replied, “Yes Daddy, and I really want a dolphin to turn up at my wedding.” He laughed and said (as he used to say when I was little), “You can’t get everything you want, Sandra, but I’ll talk to the dolphins and see if they agree to come.” I woke up straight after that, and thought nothing of it.

We got married on the beach, and straight afterwards, the photographer beckoned us away from our guests to take pictures. We were standing alone, and suddenly, about a metre away from the shore, a lone dolphin jumped out of the sea. I screamed “Dolphin! Dolphin!” but only my fiance and I managed to see it. As everyone turned round again, the dolphin jumped out of the sea again. It was a wedding present from my dad.

Sandra Williamson, Rockpile Beach, Laguna Beach, CA, 3 August 2011. For my Dad, for his amazing wedding present.

You can find out more about Melanie Winning’s work and explore more votive illustrations on the Wellcome Collection website.