Monday, April 17, 2006

Murals and Cave Paintings

Recorded history as we understand it today is in actuality an account of a very brief period of human development, say, the last 4500 years. Enheduanna, a Sumerian priestess, is the world's oldest known author whose works were written in cuneiform approximately 4300 years ago. Long time. But nothing compared to the oldest cave paintings dated to approximately 30,000 years ago. There is a great deal of human history that remains unrevealed and forgotten. And still....

If one were to make the same trek, could it be that our hands and thoughts might touch in the act of making...? It is a wonder to think that the impulse to paint the walls lives in me as it once did in my most ancient ancestors. Our focus is different - an attempt at a deeper understanding of the outside world (and thereby gain better control of it)vs the deeper understanding of the inner world (and thereby gain better control of that). And yet - is there really so much of a difference? Language alone (oral tradition) isn't enough. It is theorized that visual art was critical in the step towards cultural expansion, because visual art is able to survive the dying speaker and instruct ensuing generations in a sustainable way that oral tradition cannot. A picture speaks a thousand words.

I have finished my mural - after three years and no small effort. Seeing is believing.


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