I grew up with little love for my first name. Nobody– not family, not friends, not even teachers called me by my first name. And when they did, I was quick to correct them. “Oh, I actually go by Wande.”
I knew that Yewande, my Yoruba name meant, “mother has returned,” and have carried that proudly as a charge to use my time here honoring my Mothers and ancestors through a fulfilled, purpose- driven life. I never cared to know the meaning of Mariam outside of, “she was Moses’s sister in the Bible.”
In the process of changing my name (currently), I decided to finally look up the meaning. The definition that caught my eye: “rebel” and “rebellion.” Of course, I started thinking about how Mariam the Rebel has shown up and guided me, encouraging me to do things MY way, whether I’ve embraced her or not. I realized that Mariam the Rebel is my birthright, and I embrace her with resolution.
I named this painting “Mariam’s Farewell” in an attempt to put some respect on a name that I never truly valued, but somehow always embodied. Mariam the Rebel, though I will be laying the name to rest soon, your energy will always reside within me. I love you and I honor you. Farewell 🤍
Yewande K. Davis