Ouroboros

Photo-documentation of land art created from cracked pieces of lime
Site: Snake Eagle Thinking Path Geoglyph, Matjiesfontein, South Africa.
Year: 2015

Ouroboros or uroboros (/jʊərɵˈbɒrəs/; /ɔːˈrɒbɔrəs/, from the Greek οὐροβόρος ὄφις tail-devouring snake) is an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its own tail and it symbolizes the cyclic nature of the universe: creation out of destruction, Life out of Death. The ouroboros eats its own tail to sustain its life, in an eternal cycle of renewal.

This symbolic snake tied in with the two entwined snakes within Anni Snyman’s Snake Eagle drawing, a 170m wide drawing within the Karoo landscape, situated on a historic site where the British soldiers were stationed during the Anglo-Boer war in South Africa. The significance of my work with this in mind comments on the cycle of life that exists within this specific site – the scraggy bushes and endemic succulents of this area were burnt and destroyed to make space for the soldiers’ camp 1899-1902, and since then they have regrown and allowed the site to sustain life to the small Karoo creatures and subsequently the Snake Eagles of the area – an endangered species. When the mountains were formed in the area, water was more available and carved into the landscape. Over millions of years the wind and sun has shaped the koppies (hills) and expanses of this interesting landscape. It changes and the cycle continues, just as human occupies, uses and protects and thus forming part of this integral and eternal process and state of existence.