Ato ribeiro

The anansi series

"Anansi's Quest for Knowledge" 
2011. Mixed Media, 11'x5'x3'
Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia.

This body of work deals primarily with Ribeiro's artistic quest for knowledge and personal growth as represented through his use of the Ghanaian folktale of Anansi the Spider. Though Anansi is generally known to be a trickster, most tales about him are loaded with adventure, challenges, and pedagogic solutions that convey a wide array of moral life lessons.


Ribeiro drew most of his inspiration from the challenge of using various natural and old found materials that individuals normally overlook, thus allowing his choice of media to further elaborate on the larger topic while using Anansi as his contemporaneous subject. In the Anansi Series, Ribeiro uses materials such as purple heart wood, dogwood pinecones, magnolia seeds, and along with recycled branches of bamboo to create Anansi dominated spaces in various ways and locations.


One can follow how Ribeiro begun to draw more inspiration from works such as Joseph Peragine's "Brute Neighbors," which is an ant installation that is housed in the north and south terminal of baggage claim of Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. One can only admire how Peragine's 200 radiantly red ants work well in the busy space, yet could easily go unnoticed. 

The Anansi Series (2011-2012) is an artistic exploration of Ribeiro's specific childhood memories recounting stories and morals of Anansi the Spider, a Ghanaian Folktale that would be orally passed down from generation to generation as stories that were told by the fireside.  Through exploring the various forms of Anansi and the wittily ways in which he engaged with his surroundings, Ribeiro transforms from primarily addressing his subject with steels, to dealing with organic or found objects. He drew much of his character building from stories of the spider told by Clark Atlanta University’s Emmanuel V. Asihene, who is also a native to Ghana.