Anancy’s role as the trickster within folklore gives
the perception of a villain. However, the reality of Anancy Traveller, and pretty much the root of all Anancy tales, is
quite the opposite. Using his cunning to achieve his goal while stepping on a
few toes during the process. Anancy moves to correct the wrongs of the ignorant
and oppressive, and guide those who are downtrodden to a better place, usually
using whatever tactic will get the job done, but never killing anyone. Fighting
fire with fire.
With this in mind, Anancy Traveller focuses on
the Spiderman travelling to other lands, most of the time on foot, through time
and space. With his feminine aspect portrayed as one of his best friends,
Caribbea (the Caribbean Sea), which reflects the Spiderman's love and respect for
Anancy Traveller conjures up images of a pirate, a
rebel sailing daily from the shores of the ghetto in Greenwich Farm, Kingston.
Fighting the greedy rulers and dictators where ever they may be, is Anancy's
task. However, some journeys are ones of self-discovery, where knowledge and
wisdom is imparted to him.
Anancy’s physical description is not mentioned in much
detail, only that he is a Spiderman.
So I’ve decided to take descriptive behavioral attributes from those who
interact with him.
In Guess is what? Anancy is asked who he is.
“’Who you is?’ ‘Spider and man, natural self,’ Anancy say. Same time, Caribbea
catch Anancy with a sweet wave inside him mind, and say to him, ‘No, Anancy!
You is more than that. You is man and woman tie up into spider shape.’” (Anancy
Traveller, Guess is what, Anancy? P44). Anancy doesn’t accept this answer,
but Caribbea persists and assures him that she knows this to be true. Caribbea
represents the woman that is tangled up with Anancy, the ocean, the watery
feminine aspect of the Spiderman.
Anancy is a word derived from the Ashanti people in
Ghana meaning, spider, so I would envisage Anancy coming from the Ghanaian
stock of stolen African’s in Jamaica. In Two Elizabeth Turn Into One,
Anancy visits the Maroon Colonel in the Accompong village where two iconic Jamaican’s
are discussed, Nanny and Cudjoe. Nanny hailed from Ghana, Tall slender
structure, and Cudjoe from the Congo interior, short and stocky. So Anancy
should be tall and slender or lanky even.
Two Elizabeth Turn Into One also describes Anancy’s love of stealing things
especially things he gets to keep. “’ I mean, I could use a place like this to
hide plenty things,’ Anancy say. He laugh Kya-Kya. ‘Not those belongings and things
you like taking off you animal friends them, Spiderman! I know all about those
gold rings, silver chain, platinum clasps, ivory comb, crocus bag o’ yam, pot
o’ dumpling, potato, coffee, and such like, you know.’ The Colonel laugh loud,
loud. ” (Anancy Traveller, Two Elizabeth Turn Into One, Anancy? P73).
Anancy the trickster is also the thief, two attributes that go hand-in-hand. Especially
when it comes to shiny jewelry and copious amounts of food to fill his belly.
In many of the tales, Anancy is perceived as a
keen observer, who is always filling his eyes, “Anancy just sitting there
swallowing everything with him eye.” (Anancy Traveller, Middle passage,
p12). Meaning eyes are all seeing, very large.
Anancy as a traveler has a set goal, and only by
traveling can he accomplish this goal. In
the Tall White Wall and New City, Anancy expresses a longing for a special
destination. "For ages, he set him heart and mind on a place that got
peace, equalness, total sharing, and harmony years, and convince himself he
going find that place and live in it." (Anancy Traveller, Tall White
Wall and New City, p57). Anancy is that trickster at the cross roads
guiding people to a heavenly utopia. This statement proves that no matter the
means Anancy uses to achieve his goals the end result is salvation for all man
and woman kind.
My Anancy will be based in contemporary Kingston,
Jamaica, coming out of the grass roots ghettos of Greenwich Farm."When Anancy reach back to Kingston and stroll into Greenwich Farm where he figuring he might as well settle down for the night". "Friday morning come, and Anancy leave Greenwich Farm and go back to the old man". "Friday night, and Anancy in Greenwich Farm. The water flinging shadows, as usual". " Anancy lay down in a canoe that close by the part o' the beach he always like. Is the place where the water-view straight and open. Nothing in the way. The feeling Anancy get is that if he want he could just walk right into the water without looking, which is a feeling that pleasure him sweet, from the time he make Greenwich Farm a rest place after the first travels that Caribbea send him on."(Anancy Traveller, World in Jeopardy,
p178, 179, 181). A Hustler
type, street wise traveler who believes he knows it all, but never forgetting
he is a mystical being of man woman and spider in one. With piracy on his mind,
Anancy is ready to put one over on the greedy oppressors who over tax, over
work and mistreat their people.
I will be looking at the art of Manga's One Piece,
Marvel's Spiderman, Venom and Carnage. George Lucas's General Grievous from Star Wars, The
Wrath of Asura, Doctor Teeth the spider from Sesame Street, Disney villains, Spiders
in general, Jamaicans along with necessary fashions and Persian Cats.
Anansy the trickster is a spider, and is an important character of West
African and Caribbean folklore.
He is a spider, but often acts and appears as a man.
The Anansi tales are believed to have originated with the Ashanti people in
Ghana. (The word Anansi is Akan and means, simply, spider.) They later spread
to other Akan groups and then to the West Indies. (Wikipedia)
I plan to adapt a 3D character of Anansy, based specifically on Anancy
Traveller by Andrew Salkey.
I have selected the Story Pond from his short tales of the cunny Spiderman.
This story takes place around a cotton tree, and a pond which harbours seven
dead souls. Anancy is the walk-foot traveller who must venture into the pond to
learn the secrets of the souls trapped there. Salkey writes for an adult
audience which would offer a great contrast to the Disney style I would like to
incorporate in my designs. I will be looking at mainly Disney villains but also
some heroes as well, because Anansy can be perceived as both, either by the
other characters in his stories or by the reader. My aim is to portray a late
teen entity with worldly experiences based on his travels, and not forgetting
his obvious Spiderman appearance.