Interpreting Sandy Skoglund's
Maybe Babies Through Beliefs About Religion
Department of Art Education, Ohio State University and
Visiting Scholar, Getty Center for Education in the Arts
Creation Stories and Maybe Babies
A creation story is a cosmogony narrative that describes the original
ordering of the universe. The word cosmogony derives form the Greek
words kosmos, meaning order, and genesis, meaning birth. Virtually all
cultures have creation stories.
(The following are excerpted from A Dictionary of Creation Myths ,
David Leeming with Margaret Leeming, 1994)
Osage Creation Story
The Osage are a Midwest native culture who were forced to migrate to
the Great Plains.
In the beginning the People lived in the sky. When their parents, the sun
and moon, said it was time for them to go down to the earth, they floated
down to the earth; but they couldn't land since there was only water.
Finally, an elk answered their cries for help. Elk let himself fall into the
water and called upon the winds to blow away the water and reveal the
land beneath. He rolled in the mud and all the plants and trees grew from
some of elk's loose hairs that remained. Some say that the first people
came from a union of two animals, Beaver Boy and Snail Boy. The
couple produced a son and daughter that were neither snail nor beaver,
but Osage. These first people naturally made their houses to look like
Bagobo Creation Story
The Bagobo people live on Mindanao Island in the Philippines.
In the beginning the creator, Melu, made the earth and two small people
from his dried skin shed through his constant polishing. However, the
two people lacked noses and Melu reluctantly allowed his not very smart
brother to make them. He made the noses upside-down and when it
rained the two people almost drowned. To save themselves, they stood
on their heads under a tree until Melu asked what they were doing. He
saw the upside-down noses, turned them around and everything has
been all right ever since--at least with noses.
Efik Creation Story
The Efik tribe lives in Nigeria on the African west coast.
Abassi, the creator, made two humans, but afraid of their ambitions, he
reluctantly gave into the intercession of his wife, Atai, and permitted the
humans to live on earth. To keep the humans under control, Abassi
required them to eat all their meals in heaven and each day he rang a bell
to call them for their meals.
Abassi forbid the humans to hunt, grow food or procreate. Soon,
however, the women began growing food and before long, there were
children. The earth people quit going to heaven for their meals.
Abassi blamed Atai who said, "Don't worry," and sent down death and
discord to keep the humans in their place.
Munduruc Creation Story
The Munduruc Indians live in the western hemisphere in Brazil.
The creator, Karusakaibo, was angry because he suspected that there
were humans living below the earth. He and his friend, Daiiru and
Armadillo, made a beautiful cotton rope; they tied Daiiru to the end and
dropped it into a hole in the earth. Daiiru showed the people under the
earth how to climb out, but so many hung on that the rope broke and half
the people had to stay in the underworld where they are today.
Everything in the underworld is the opposite from the world we know.
The sun goes in the opposite direction and it is day there when it is night
Can you imagine and write a creation story based upon Maybe
Babies? If you do, please send it forward to the discussion group: