Created by the same process, Tu Ashé Yemanya was made in parallel to the larger work Monterroso produced for the 2015 Havana Biennial, Pulsera para Yemanya [Bracelet for Yemanya].
For the Havana Biennial, Monterroso - whose intention was to work with the theme of water - worked alongside a Guía Santero (a spiritual guide) and the local Cuban community to produce Pulsera para Yemanya.
Pulsera para Yemanya comprises of three hundred and thirty six polished coconuts, dyed feathers and marine snails which were blessed and tied together to create a ritual bracelet to Yemanya, the mother-goddess of the ocean in the Yorùbá religion.
Brought to Cuba from Africa by the slave trade, the anicent Yorùbá religion is a unique blend of indigenous beliefs, myths and legends, proverbs, and songs, all influenced by the cultural and social contexts of Western Africa. In the Yorùbá religion, Ashé is the divine force, energy, and power incarnate in the world. It is the power behind all things in the universe and enables people to find balance in life. Santeros (Santerían priests) use Ashé to provide blessing and healing to devotees. "Ashe is a current or flow, a groove that initiates can channel so that it carries them along their road in life. The prayers, rhythms, offerings, taboos of Santería tune initiates into this flow" (Murphy, 1993, p. 131).
Following the Yorùbá traditional ritual sequence, Pulsera para Yemaya was hung from a tree for the duration of the Biennial before being cast into the sea by Monterroso and members of the Havana community.
In reconsidering these indigenous religious rituals through her art practice, Monterroso brings deep-rooted indigenous culture and belief out of the margins and into the contemporary canon.