Who are we? Why are we here? These are the two eternal questions of humanity philosophised by great minds for centuries. Essentially, they are the same question. If we know who we are, then we know also why we are here. If we know why we are here, then we are able to define who we are. From the moment you are born you are told your name, your religion, your citizenship and your race. These categories give us our identity, but in some ways they also take it away. Our humanity is linked first and always to nature. We are born of it and we are a part of it. To separate our selves from it is to deny our own creativity and our own identity. Human beings are in a space in time now where we are trying to rebuild our relationship with the Earth and with each other, a link to where we began as we try to move forward.
This video piece was inspired by an area in South Africa known to some as the birthplace of humanity. Declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1999, the Cradle of Humankind extends for 47 000 hectares of beautiful caves, underwater lakes, rivers and man-made cultural sites that aim to retain and protect the natural environment. The large number of fossils that have been discovered there give this piece of the Earth so much meaning for us as a species. Since the first discoveries of fragmentary and robust skulls by Robert Broom in 1934 and 1938 respectively, through to the discovery of Homo Naledi by the Rising Star team in September 2015, we have been given knowledge and an understanding of how far we have come.
These discoveries have enabled scientists, archeologists, anthropologists and artists to piece together the story of our creation. They have allowed us to explore how we came to be this creature, the Human Being, so supposedly different from anything before us.
This video was filmed on location in the Nirox Sculpture Park. Visit this weekend for the Winter Sculpture Fair. Find details.
Special thanks to all the artists featured.