The spider Anansi
For centuries, the clever spider Anansi has been the subject of countless stories passed on from generation to generation. These stories originated in West Africa, just like the name ‘Anansi’, which means 'spider' in the Akan language. African slaves brought these stories to America, where they became part of the culture of countries such as Surinam and the Netherlands Antilles. Over the past 60 years, Surinamese and Antilleans have introduced these tales to the Netherlands, and the spider Anansi has become one of the most loved and well-known characters in our country.
Interpretations of the spider Anansi
Nine Ghanaian and five Dutch artists have been asked to offer their interpretation of the spider Anansi especially for this exhibition. They include respected Ghanaian artists such as Nicholas Kowalski, Glen Turner, Gabriel Eklou, Kofi Agorsor and Kofi Nduro Donkor, as well as street artists Gilbert Forson, Daniel Kpalam, Daniel Jasper and Michael Okyere.
A number of Dutch artists were also commissioned to create works for this exhibition. Stichting Beeldende Kunst Amsterdam (SBK, a Dutch visual arts foundation) asked animators Michael Veerman and Mathijs Stegink and artists Nelson Carrilho, Michael Tedja and Dwight Herald Marica to contribute to the project. Following on from the exhibition in the Tropenmuseum, the SBK will display the works of various artists dealing with the Anansi theme for nine months.
The exhibition 'The Spider Anansi' is part of the Anansi Masters project, which aims to collect Anansi stories and make them accessible by posting them on the Internet in the form of video registrations of storytellers. The project currently focuses on the stories in Ghana and the Netherlands, but soon Anansi tales from Surinam, the Antilles and other countries in the Caribbean will also be included in the project. On 6 October, the database will be officially presented in the Tropentheater. The programme will feature a performance by Nana Ampadu, one of Ghana's greatest musicians. More information on the project and the opening can be found at www.anansimasters.net.