Vitoria Regia: The Giant Amazon Water Lily Legend
According to the Tupis-Guaranis, an indigenous group from Northern Brazil, the moon goddess (Jaci) would transform her favorite girls from the tribe into stars. There are different versions of this legend, and all of them describe a girl striving to be in union with the moon.
Naiá was a beautiful young girl, daughter of the tribe's leader, and she grew up listening to stories about Jaci (the moon goddess). She became so captivated by the idea of becoming a star and being able to join the moon in the sky that she started to spend her nights "hunting" the moon. She traversed the land, climbing trees and mountains trying to touch the moon, but all her efforts were in vain. Then, during a full moon night, she saw Jaci's reflection on a river. Naiá did not think twice; she immediately jumped into the water to join Jaci... and she drowned. Jaci watched this scene from the sky and decided to transform the young girl into a distinct star, the "star of the waters", which is the Amazon's Giant Water Lily (Vitoria Regia).
The legend says that the Water Lily opens its white flowers to bathe in the Jaci's light on full moon nights, even today.
Although this legend might have had a social function to the indigenous tribe, I choose not to focus on this aspect when creating an artwork. Usually, I try to connect with ideas within the legend/tale/myth that evoke universal themes.
In this particular legend, I see the individual crusade to achieve a higher state of mind (moving from land to the sky). To be triumphant in this psychological transformation, we must die and be reborn. The symbol "water" is utilized in different mythologies as the medium through which this transformation occurs. The Water Lily is a magnificent symbol that represents the connection between two states of mind.
Prints of Vitoria Regia (The Giant Amazon Water Lily Legend) are available on the link below: