This the second of four lithographs made at Hole Editions with Lee Turner, takes its title from the first line in the Babylonian creation myth, Enûma Eliš*.
“When the sky above was not named,
And the earth beneath did not yet bear a name,
And the primeval Apsû, who begat them,
And chaos, Tiamat, the mother of them both,
Their waters were mingled together,
And no field was formed; no marsh was to be seen;
When of the gods none had been called into being.
-Tablet 1, *Enûma Eliš, the Assyro-Babylonian epic of creation, circa 1100 BCE.
The Enûma Eliš was recognized as bearing close relation to the Jewish creation in Genesis from its first publication (Smith 1876), and it was an important step in the recognition of the roots of the account found in the Bible, and in earlier Ancient Near Eastern (Canaanite and Mesopotamian) myth.
Genesis 1:1-3 can be taken as describing the state of chaos immediately prior to God's creation:
"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light."
The School of thought known as Panbabylonism considers the Hebrew Bible and Judaism as directly derived from Babylonian culture and mythology. The ideas presented within its framework still carry importance in mythological studies, due to similarities between myths in the comparatively young Bible and much older myths from ancient Mesopotamian mythologies. This hints at the notion that there perhaps only exists one ‘Ex Nihilo’ creation narrative which is reinterpreted through human history in the West, Near and Middle East.
Religion can be viewed as a kind of veil, a smoke screen that functions to obscure the notion of a centre point of the universe where there may exist only a void, a vortex of nothingness. As a race, constantly seeking answers to our existence, thousands of years of beautiful ritual and tradition does offer some solace to this proposition.