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Anteus

Ritual storytelling for decolonising ancient narratives

 

 

They say Anteus was thirty meters tall. 

A giant. 

They say his father was the great Sea god and his mother the Earth.

His lover was Tingis and with her he gave life to two daughters. 

They say that any travellers who passed through his land were forced to compete with him in a wrestling match. And all of those, he killed and out of all the human skulls he axed, he built a temple for his father. A most magnificent temple, resounding the human folly of empty heads stacked one on top of another in Poseidon’s great hall. No one was stronger than Anteus, and the skulls mounted higher and higher.

It was his mother, the earth, who kept him strong. Her throbbing magnetism pulsed through her son’s veins as long as he kept in intimate contact with her. 

But one day, they say, a great hero came. A man of flesh and bones, a man whose will was like an arrow, who knew the secret of Anti’s Strength and in treachery he overcame the invincible giant. Anteus is dead. 

We find the myth of the wrestling match between Anteus (Anti) the giant and Greek hero Heracles at the meeting point of the Amazigh and the Hellenic cultures, back in the days of the Greek expansion into Western Africa in the 5th century BC. It came to represent the Hellenic colonisation of ‘Lybia’/North Africa in Greek as well as Amazigh mythology.

 

Heracles takes away the power of Anti by separating him from the ground, knowing that Anti's mother, Gaia is the source of his potent life-force. We find at the base of every colonial endeavour, a process of intentionally separating people from the land, from their source of belonging and power. 

   

This installation and ritual performance for decolonising ancient narratives seeks to re-code the myth, reconnecting the giant again with a maternal underground, magnetic, serpentine energy. As we open our minds to occult topographies of M’zora stone circle, we may imagine the being of Anti as the surface expression of the earth’s underground lithic consciousness. We tell his story backwards, weaving in other mythical characters from the area who give their assistance in pulling the giant back down to touch his mother's body. 

 

This work is made in conjunction with the M'zora stone circle, and is told to anyone who wants to hear the story. Contact me to book a telling. 

Tierra * Cielo Cielo
Tierra * Cielo Cielo

Ritual Performance, in collaboration with Aziz Amrani

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Tierra * Cielo Cielo
Tierra * Cielo Cielo

Still from video by Outman Akjeje

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Tierra * Cielo Cielo
Tierra * Cielo Cielo

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Tierra * Cielo Cielo
Tierra * Cielo Cielo

Ritual Performance, in collaboration with Aziz Amrani

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