ansisterLogo home about us contacts events site map
media room sponsors forum dot gallery workshops artist's studio dot research  

Ansisters Event August 2005


Detail from the performance 'Patterns Outside My Head' by Janine Lewis, Rantebeng Makapan and Bonisile Nxumalo. As part of the FACE Ansisters 2005 event, Constitution Hill, Johannesburg.

Copyright © FACE 2005.
All rights reserved.

studio : ansister theme


Sarah and Ronêll at an Ansister gathering held on
12 February 2005.


We are looking at ansisters. Each of us have our own response to this thought. Female ancestor. Female, because it tends to be the part of our heritage that has been marginalised and silenced. As always, femaleness encapsulates maleness — men have female ancestors as well! His-story has been told. Often actually. So we are not trying to repeat history in making our viewpoint an exclusive one. So if you have an interpretation, or exploration of the concept to offer — it is worthy of consideration. Be bold, listen to your muse, and do it!


"Our bodies are formed from the ashes of long dead stars." -
Sir James Jeans (on the formation of carbon in the universe)

In the creative constellation of "Ansisters" we want to move our attention to the women, to the mothers, the great mother earth and her daughters. All those quiet voices in the background of the world that exists now. Let’s turn around so that they become the fore-ground. Praise, pray or pardon the unacknowledged ones that brought their specific gifts to our cultural, intellectual, spiritual and biological existence. Let’s celebrate, honour, mourn and thank where it is due.

The prevailing culture of our time is one that values the power principle almost to the exclusion of all else. Dressed up in the pretexts of money or knowledge – it colours our view of everything, including our understanding of our nature. "Survival of the fittest" is the throw-away line that most of us have to contend with when questioning some of the unethical absurdities confronting us in too many aspects of our lives.

It is as if the concept "Survival of the fittest" has conspired to create a reality more ferocious and cruel than any ‘natural’ one before it. Even if it has only been used as an excuse for conscienceless acts, there is no doubt that our world is out of kilter, that the balance has been disturbed to such an extent that humanity seems particularly unfit to inhabit this beautiful planet. It is time to amend it to "Survival of the fit", meaning true relationship between aspects of a whole. Who knows, maybe we can sow the seeds of a new reality?

Traditionally it has been the female role to look after ‘the fit’, namely our relationships with each other and our environment. However, we all know how hard it is to have responsibility without power in a culture that respects only the latter. At times it feels as if we have forgotten the ways that do not revolve around power.

In recalling our ansisters, we hope to get greater understanding of the things that brought us here. We wish to remember what it is we came to do, and the ways to do it.

Posted December 2004, Ansisters site, author: Anni Snyman.