Abatwa Animatic edit

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Storyboard Pre-Production

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Character Design

My beast and ant are  all in black color because I want to make the characters  really stand out and also represent dark skin people in Africa. I use cut-out style for the background with a lot of texture, so it’ll separate from the beast. I also simplify the shape into very simple form to make it look like ancient Africa art and it’s easier to animate.

Storyboard 1

The idea is to depict Abatwa’s daily life, what they usually do in their routine? Most people normally choose an important moment or event to demonstrate the beast but I think it’s more interesting showing something that we hardly heard or seen in the myth which is their everyday life. Abatwa is very shy, peaceful and friendly so I add a text ‘Sawabona’ which means ‘hello’ in Bantu (one of the language that use in Africa), to display how friendly they are and they ‘re also an unity society; gathering around and help each other preparing food and have dinner together.

Concept Art 1

Storyboard 2

Concept Art 2

Paper Toy

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Credit : http://www.macula.tv/main.htm

I design paper toy to look just like real Arican people with dark skin and black hair. I add a little antennae to relate to the ant. My concept idea focus on beast’s personality. Abatwa have a very shy personality, they hardly show themselves to other people which mean they must great at disguise, so I decide to use red color, the color of the ant, on the back of this toy, if you view from above it’ll look like an ant. I also put grass in his hands to depict that they usually hide under the grass.

Final Painting

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For my final painting, I focus on the meaning behind the picture more than the aspect or composition. I still emphasize on women role in Abatwa’s society but unlike collage, this project I go even deeper along with using a lot of symbolism. Well, first thing you must notice is they’re four Abatwa people in the painting and three out of four are women, just to refer to majority of the society.

       

Women on the right with the baby, do you think she look similar? It’s a Madonna and child in Christianity. At first, I try to conjugate female symbol with African’s traditional religion but I found out that they only believed in natural spirit before they convert to Christianity. And if we ask whom the most famous women in Christian, everybody probably think about the Virgin or Madonna.

Other two women are real famous person in the African history.

Women at the back, her name is Sojourner Truth, she was one the first who outspoken support for the women’s rights in 1800s. She born as slavery in New York and after she escaped to freedom, she found that her son was illegally sold to other man, she took the issue to the court and she was the first black women to successfully against white people in US court and continued as a women’s rights activist. Her renewed speech know as ‘Ain’t I a Women?’

(http://www.lkwdpl.org/wihohio/trut-soj.htm)

A woman at the front with a turban, her name is Wangari Maathai. She was a famous environmentalist from Kenya in Africa in 1900s and also the first African women to won the Nobel Peace Prize. She born in ethic tribe, she graduated Biology degree and became an environment activist with Red Cross Society. Later on, she established ‘Green Belt Movement’ which is an organization that authorizes people to preserve and improve the environment in Africa. I choose this person because in some myth, Abatwa is also the forest protector and environment conservationist.

(http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2004/maathai-bio.html/)

               

            In addition, I insert some female symbols in the painting (it’s quite hard to see), for example, there’s a women’ rights power symbol on the jar in Truth’s head and triple spiral as a Celtic symbol of mother on the rock behind the male Abatwa. Moreover, I use pink color for the anthill to depict that female is exclusively control in the household.

  • I paint a stair on the right to represent the hierarchy system in their society.
  • I put the leg on the background to compare the beast size and I also paint it brighter skin referring to white people intruder in African history.
  • I make the texture on the road look like sugar to relating to the ant.

Final Collage

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In my final collage, I use the bright and saturate color to make the feeling of African’s art, which usually use primary color such as red, blue and yellow. I also put African’s pattern with the beast’s name on it, I try to make font of the name look like it’s written by Africa language. I cut out real African people in the hunting pose because Abatwa is a great hunter-gatherer and I also put the arrows to show that it’s the most proficient weapon. Of course, I put the ants in the collage because they live in the anthill. As you saw, I really emphasize on the ant queen that have white border to make it stands out because I want to focus on gender role in this society. You’ll notice that most of the wall paintings in anthill are women and there’re also female symbol at the back of the ant queen, to represent that women dominate inside the house while men are responsible for gathering food outside. 

The Abatwa (Pygmies): Challenges for a New Rwanda

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The video examined the genocide in Rwanda, and how people heal from a horror like that.

This piece looks at the Abatwa people, better known in the US as the Pygmies. The Abatwa, who are the indigenous people of the region, have suffered unspeakably and unnoticed by all except themselves.

Traditional hunters, they were kicked off their ancestral lands when that area was made into an animal preserve. The unintended consequence of an environmental victory was great destruction to Abatwa culture, and the loss of many lives.

Later, during the period of the Rwandan genocide, they lost 30% of their population. Nobody noticed because the Abatwa were not important to anybody but themselves.

The Abatwa are an example of the phenomenon feared by Subcomandante Marcos and the indigenous communities of the Chiapas region of Mexico, that of being so marginalized as a people that you just don’t matter any more.

Abatwa

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Abatwa

The little people have been told and written about in many countries for hundreds of years. They have many names in many different languages; elves, fairies, dwarves, goblin or gremlins. They can be gentle and generous or mean-spirited and dangerous. Just like Ireland’s myth has ‘Leprechaun’ and Scandinavia’s myth has ‘Nornir’[1], Africa also has the little people called Abatwa as well. 

The word ‘Abatwa’ comes from South African’s mythology referring to small human-like creature, generally look exactly like primitive African tribes. In the ancient myth, Abatwa were born from, nature spirit, Vash`Nok’s tear that brust and fell to the earth[2]. Some believe that the word originally allude to the Twa people, also known as Batwa or pygmies who live in the Great Lakes region of Africa what is now Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is more credible because Twa people also have small stature, approximately 1.5 meters or only 5 feet tall[3].

Abatwa said to be the smallest human form creatures that exist in the world, about ½ inch height, small enough to ride on ants and hide beneath the grass blade. They live together peacefully with the ants in the anthill[4]. Although the myth has never mention how they deal with the ants, I think they’ve some kind of antennae similar to ants, so they’ll be able to communicate with ants and other small animals. Ant’s society is very unity and cohesion, they help each other and obviously distribute their duties and I think Abatwa might have an influence by the ants’ social structure including women role in the society. As you knew ants are a hierarchy society that rules by an ant queen and majority of the ant’s population is also female, therefore, I’ll not be surprise if Abatwa’s first president is a woman.

              

Because of their appearance, some cultures may confuse Abatwa with dwarf or fairy, even though there’re similar, unlike fairy or dwarf, Abatwa doesn’t have any magic power. In fact, they are nomadic with high hunter-gatherer skill. Abatwa are natural born hunter, despite their tiny body and peaceful personality, they can slay their preys several times larger than themselves with their tiny poisoned arrows1, which is very virulent, it can bring down small animals.

Abatwa is very shy creature and quite reclusive; they hardly reveal themselves in front of the humans. It said that they would only permit to be seen by children below the age of four, wizard and pregnant woman. It also said that seventh-month pregnant woman will give birth to a boy if she saw a male abatwa4.

          

Due to their tiny stature, Abatwa is extremely sensitive about their size, which is only their weak point. If someone mention or make fun of their size, Abatwa will strike them to death with poisoned arrows. From the folktale, if the traveler unexpectedly encounters Abatwa, they will ask the traveler, “From where did you first see me?”1 The traveler must answer that he first saw them from the far away. If the traveler replies that he just saw them right in front of him, Abatwa will hunt him down.

To sum up, Abatwa is an African’s myth creature that has very tiny perfect human form. It refers to Twa people, native tribe in Africa. Even though they’re shy and peaceful, they are born hunter-gatherer. Their ultimate weapon is deadly poisoned arrow. Abatwa can be vindictive and extremely dangerous if one mention about their size. You may found them near the anthill or under the blade of grass but don’t step on them if you don’t want to taste their lethal venom arrow.


[1] Allen, J. (2005). Fantasy encyclopedia. Massachusetts: Kingfisher Publisher.

[2] Bulya. (2012). Abatwa. Retrieved Jun 4, 2012, from http://dragonwarriors.wetpaint.com/page/Abatwa.

[3] Twa. (2012). Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved Jun 4, from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/610821/Twa

[4] Abatwa. (n.d.). Retrieved Jun 4, from http://potofgold.uchicago.edu/infomain/abatwa/abatwa.html