Phenomenon of Anima
video time: 03min30
"Planetary Garden" Group exhibition in MA2Gallery
Text: Phenomenon of Anima
The island of Sulawesi in Indonesia has long been inhabited by a tribe of people called Toraja.
There I met a young Toraja man named Johannes.
He told me a story.
It was a story about our lives, life and death.
According to Johannes, life and death are not opposites in their traditional beliefs, which they call Aluk Todolo.
They are merely names for different phases of a single event. They are always in a circle and are constantly changing.
For example, in the village where they live, there is a wooden grave called a "baby tree.
Babies who die before their baby teeth erupt are placed in a hole dug in the trunk of the tree.
Over time, the tree grows and becomes taller and taller.
When it eventually decays, the tree returns to the earth, and new life grows on it.
That is why, Johannes says, they pray.
To their ancestors.
To the spirits.
Because that is where I come from.
Johannes' grandmother was an Aluk Todolo.
But I am a Christian. I was born that way.
Aluk Todolo will be gone soon.
Fear the beast, fear the night, fear death.
Passing through the ends of the earth.
Passing by the edge of a waterfall.
Passing by the stars of billions of years.
"What are we afraid of?"
Dawn is coming.
To a land of subterranean light.
© 2023 Maki Ohkojima