To accompany our current exhibition ‘Infinitas Gracias: Mexican miracle paintings‘, we’ve been working with professional illustrators to produce contemporary votive illustrations 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, we want to hear contemporary stories of gratitude and explore the process of exchange between storyteller and illustrator.
Marta Wawryszuk’s latest votive illustration is for this story submitted at Wellcome Collection:
I was trying to conceive a baby for over two years. Nothing seemed to work. I went to New Orleans and purchased a candle of the Voodoo goddess Sirene Baleine in a tacky vodoo shop. I kept it on my shelf for a while. I also bought a plastic glow-in-the dark San Gregorio when I was in Colombia. He is depicted wearing a white Edwardian suit and Clark Gable mustache. He is supposed to be a healing saint but I enjoyed its unusual shape and glow-in-the-dark qualities. Half playing, half hoping, one day I decided to make a little ritual to both divinities. I gave a dried out sea horse that I inherited from my father to the Sirene Baleine and a flower and a sugared almond from my wedding to San Gregorio and lit the voodoo candle. Three weeks later I was pregnant.
Ronaele Sinhs, South London/New Orleans/Pasto, 2011. For San Gregorio and Sirene Baleine.
Could your gratitude inspire a votive? Tell us your story, and it could form the basis for an illustration.