ALSO CALLED: MURABARABA STONE
BELFAST BLACK GRANITE
It's an adult's game, and when it's in process no one talks.
Both competitors and spectators remain mute,
working with their eyes, heads and hands.
Mbonu Ojike - Igbo writer
Like golf, the moves in the artwork SILENT GAME are played in total silence. It is rude to interrupt players with distracting noise - cell phones are switched off. Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957) made a well-known sculpture known as the Table of Silence in 1938 and dedicated it to quiet contemplation. When the massive stone of SILENT GAME lies dormant, which is of course most of the time, it becomes an object of cultural and aesthetic reflection. This very polished and incredibly hard stone also offers contemplative seating without suffering damage.
SILENT GAME replicates the largest game in operation, one with 96 cup-holes. Craft shops offer various versions of the game for sale as rather commonplace kitsch. The sculpture wishes to liberate the grand game from this unfortunate position and to uphold it as the paragon of cultural and academic expression.
THE GAME PLAYED BY KINGS AND COWHERDS - AND PRESIDENTS TOO!
I chose the game of Eating each others' cows, the world's oldest game originating from ancient Sumeria, because it is still actively played, especially in developing countries. I believe that the game shows that feats of mental brilliance are alive and well in those countries. Eating each others' cows is but one of dozens of names for the same game. In different parts of Africa the game is called Soro, Omweso, Lela, Adji Boto, Mancala, Bao, Oware, Wari, Ayo, Adi, Omo ayo, Kpo, Azigo, Okwe, Giuthi, Ajwa, Mweso, Bao Biswahili, Igisoro, Mancal, Gabatta. In South Africa it is called Eating each others' cows and sometimes Morabaraba or Murabaraba, a Pedi word and a name it shares with the popular board game known as 'meul'. In Venda it is Muravharavha and in Shona Umlabalaba, The Zulu for it is Mlabalaba and the Nama Iihus.
Being the world's oldest game, Eating each others' cows also has numerous variations of play and rules. It is mostly popular in Africa but there are a multitude of Eastern nationalities t