Publication 'I heard water holds a secret'
Photography & design: Michelle Piergoelam
Cover illustration: Lukasz Gula
Text: Michelle Piergoelam
First edition sold out
Second edition limited stock left
On the occasion of the project ‘Manifesto’, 24 / 27th January, 2019, Royal Academy of Art, The Hague
© January 2019, Michelle Piergoelam
I heard water holds a secret
A memory can be compared to a fairy tale; it has its roots in reality but over time it creates another world in and of itself. Fifteen years ago something happened to me. I almost drowned. That day, I saw and felt something I shouldn’t have.
In fairytales and myths, the underwater world is the place where mysteries reside. Below the water surface, one descends into the unknown, into nothingness. The indigenous tribes in Suriname, my country of origin, believe in a Watramama – a creature that in the Western world is known as a mermaid. A folk tale named ‘The kidnapping of Maiwie’ tells about a village girl who was lured into the river by a mysterious man who proved to be a water spirit. She became a Watramama and was forever separated from her parents and fellow villagers. To this day, you can still visit the exact spot along the river where her abduction took place.
This tale holds some similarities to my own experience.When I became submerged and lost my sight and hold of things, for a second I thought that I would become a Watramama myself. When we speak about the fears that live in our mind, we speak of repetition. By re-living this moment in time, my fear and memory of water created this new reality. Something changed.
Curiosity is lying in wait for every secret.