Anansi Company Ronald King and Roy Fisher
Based on Walter Jekyll's Jamaican song and story, this book features Anansi, a trickster who is both spider and man, along with his friends – Tiger, Snake, Turtle, Cat, Rat-bat, Dog, Cock, Parrot, Dry skull, Rabbit, Chicken hawk – and Jack Mantora.
It is a modern rendition of the Anansi stories, which were told for over one thousand years in Africa, and then transplanted to the Caribbean by slaves. These storytellers typically close Anansi stories with, “Jack Mantora, me no choose none”, Caribbean patois which means “Mr Listener, don’t think I’m getting at you”.
Anansi Company is the seventh collaboration by artist Ron King and poet Roy Fisher of Circle Press.
This publication pushes the boundaries of what a book is. Although it begins in a familiar shape, the solander box once opened spawns fifteen separate sections, each holding a puppet which, similarly, can be removed from the main body of work, even though Ron King “designed, printed and constructed the works to be viewed as a whole”.
Formed in 1967, Circle Press reflects Ron’s vision to work with like-minded individuals in a supportive group. Currently the circle includes over one hundred, with the main contributors being artists John Christie and Ron King, and poets Roy Fisher and Kenneth White.
Ronald King and Roy Fisher. Anansi Company: a collection of thirteen hand-made wire and card rod-puppets. London: Circle Press, 1992.