Sunday, 8 January 2017

(Replicas of) The Treasures Of King Tutankhamun



I travelled to Perth at the end of last year to visit an exhibition of reproductions of the treasures of the tomb of Tutankahmun discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter. Only 5 years earlier King Tutankhamun And The Golden Age Of The Pharaohs had an extended run here in Melbourne.

The exhibition had not been widely advertised outside of that city. Melbourne is the opposite side of the continent to Perth so I had quite a way to travel - but it was worth it!

Having seen the originals of most of these pieces little less than 12 months ago, many asked why I was bothering. I was following a hunch based on some preliminary reports that I had read about the exhibition, and was curious to see how they strung everything together as an event. As turns out, a company more experienced in running concerts than museum shows were the curator and financiers of the event, and the sense of theatre that they obviously engendered in the show is what made it unique and engaging.

Newly colourised Harry Burton originals greeted us as soon as we entered the event;
featured  R to L are the Netjeru Qebsenenuf, Duamutef, Sekhmet and Geb 

The receiving room of the exhibition is filled with blow ups of Harry Burton's original photos of documentation from 1922 - with the difference that the images have been remastered and colourised. It was a treat seeing these and foretold the focus of the show leaning much toward Carter's trials and tribulations in finding and cataloguing the tomb items as much as the items themselves!

I loved this mural that features an aerial view of The Valley Of The Kings
The next room was devoted to the ancestry of the King and explaining the pharaonic civilisation from Egyptology's viewpoint. A massive mural of the Valley Of The Kings made a majestic backdrop to this area.

The screens feature Queen Tiye - the king's grandmother

We were then ushered to a room where 3 screens beamed the story of Dynasty 18 and Tutankhamun's ancestry. This was the first taste of theatrics, screens, and drama to tell the tale of events behind the objects and who they belonged to.


The next theatre told the tale of Howard Carter's life, complete with actors and how all things lead to his discovery of the tomb. The exhibition emphasised how underrated Carter is in the history of Egyptology and the enormous contribution he made to our understanding of Ancient Egypt.


The exhibit that we moved to next was the first of 3 replications of how the rooms were first found when Carter entered them. The antechamber featured primarily the chariots and beds as well as chests and other furniture that the king used during his reign.

This part of the event is unique and fascinating. The find was so well documented in Harry Burton's photos and Carter's notes that these simulations are now possible. Most of the replicas we see in these displays are again replicated in the main exhibition hall so we can see them displayed properly and not in the original (cluttered and cramped) context.








In the next part of the event we are faced with the 4 shrines that housed the sarcophagus, 3 inner coffins and ultimately the mummy of the king. Faithful reproductions of the wall paintings are also featured, including a rendition of the destroyed part of the wall (featuring the Goddess Auset) that happened as a result of accessing the rest of the chambers.

Sadly, this image of the Goddess Auset (Isis) no longer exists - it was destroyed in order to gain access to the rest of the tomb
Seeing the shrines outside of glass and up close was astonishing and breathtaking. The craftsmanship (of the original AND the replicas) are beyond words. I was fascinated to learn that much of the writing on these extraordinary "machines" has not yet been deciphered: it is believed that a deliberate encryption had been employed by the priests overseeing such matters. Click here for a short vid of the glyphs on the 1st shrine.

The bolted doors of a shrine
The rest of the hall was devoted to the canopic shrine, the statues of the Netjeru and the king that had been found inside many little wooden shrines, ushabtis, thrones and chariots of the king.

More use was made of screens and projectors above the dais' holding the replicas that gave further insight into their nature and discovery.

The exhibition successfully created an event that allowed participants a memorable experience. Being up close to each item with out a sheet of glass in between made more of a difference than I thought it would.



For more images (and videos) , please see my Instagram page.


I sketched the sarcophagus replica on my second day visit to the event; I wanted to get all the glyphs in somehow, as I intend reading these someday - a goal I move closer toward thanks to the Bob Brier taught course I am doing through The Great Courses

Ra has the last word in this post!
I took this photo on the way home from the plane - my visit to the west complete, as King Tutankhamun's journey to the West, so long ago, captures such a vivid part of my imagination



Friday, 30 December 2016

Kemetic Soul Anatomy 2016

The original line work on canvas ready for colour in my 2015 painting Material Immortality; each shrine contains a soul part; the lion mummiform represents khat

As the year draws to a close I offer an update on my latest research and current theories about Kemetic Soul Anatomy. I am beginning to suspect that a concrete understanding of these concepts is harder to maintain as the components reveal themselves, and harder still to express in words.

I have written on the topic before, and touched on some basics in a 2012  post that I want to elaborate upon now. This blogpost 4 years later can be considered a belated Part 2!

As I venture further into the subject as well as Egyptology (largely through reading and writing hieroglyphs myself), I am struck by how little our understanding of Kemet has evolved since Egyptology emerged as a discipline 200 years ago. Egyptology in and of itself does not evolve. There is a set notion of "this is how it was", and thus we still get renderings of Ka as spirit and Ba as soul. We need to look to other sources (perhaps other sciences?) to understand the enigmatic soul anatomy that this civilisation understood, unless we wish to keep a Victorian view of everything related to Ancient Egypt.

Khat
The physical body as a soul component; it of course includes the flesh (Kemetic aufu) but the name designates its function as something else; almost every religion in the modern world has grossly underestimated the importance of the physical body, which is the focal point (cocoon even) in this dimension for all the other components ; the term contains the word Ka and is also contained in the word Khaibit - I believe that this is because in all 3 cases an identical physical and semi physical form of our bodies exists across dimensions in this shape.
The hieroglyphs for the word contain a fish, the concretizing bread loaf (t) and a pustule; I read this as fluid playing a part in the souls science of the body, and it could relate to kundalini or even semen and ova; the automaton like consciousness of fish could relate to the body being dysfunctional without activation of the other parts, or at least some of them

Ka
 The personal "me", as opposed to ren which is the public "me"; both are personality centred vehicles but Ka is the inner focused version and our "I"; as mentioned it replicates the physical form etherically or when travelling in the Duat, but may not be able to go further than that realm without other "parts"; the ka arms hieroglyphs puzzle me - they are at once hands raised in adoration or prayer but also perhaps preparing for an embrace - perhaps without the embrace of Ka we are not people or conscious in the way that we know ourselves to be

Ren
More than just the "name" or "sound body", this is how your essence and the idea of you on the earth is projected to others and how you are perceived; it may be like a public projection of the ka and how we resonate in this dimension; the ren may contain the blueprint of destiny, and it may be how we anchor ourselves into the timeline in which we are currently immersed; with glyphs of a mouth and waves there can be no doubt that the spoken word and speech is very much part of this enigmatic soul component

Ba
The part that moves most swiftly and easily between the physical and non physical words, and is most likely the centre of what we feel in ourselves when we detect spiritual states or religious feelings; likely it is my ba that I am channelling more than others as I type (except the khat which I need to type the letters on my keyboard, and my ka and ren which formulate the words in a way that this post will express my point in the style that is mine); the glyphs are a human headed falcon (the reverse of which are how the falcon headed gods are represented)  but also a jabiru stork - the long legs of this bird distance it from the ground and yet it is quite capable of navigating on foot and flying away; both symbols makes me think that we can and do take our consciousness to other realms and don't "dissolve" as the Buddhists suggest

Ab
I wrote in the 2012 post mentioned above that the ab is "the conscience, your justice self, located in the heart"; I have not changed this thought but believe the ab to be much more our feeling centred self and the seat of thought itself (the Egyptians did have the term, "the intelligence of the heart"); the degree to which we can operate our Ba is likely influenced greatly by how refined our ab is, as the two words are mirror images of the other; it may be that ab is the earthly version of Ba, and at night when we sleep ab rises to become ba in the next world to take our experiences to . . . .

Khaibit
 The shadow self and what has been thought of as the astral body; with development the khaibit can change its form; it does however start as a replica of the physical body before metamorphoses commences; I believe that shamans use this body when undergoing ritual and trance, and this is likely the first vehicle accessed when undergoing psychoactive journeys via substances like DMT, ayahuasca and psilocybin

Sekhem
More than simply the vital force or life force, it is how the force / energy manifests as you; likely the centre or actual point that we call charisma; although written with different glyphs, heka "magic" is hidden in this word and that may reveal something closer to the truth of what this vehicle and energy is

Sahu
The Netjer body that viewed from within time is the end point of soul evolution; outside of time however it is already complete but may be hardest of all to reach; the glyphs are very interesting as they contain the determinative of Netjer, a star, and a glyph designated as toes (a sandal strap for toes - but I question the interpretation of that). The words for breath, unite and utterance are contained in this word too. The sa is also a glyph of protection that is a floating device worn by sailors. This also provides much thought for being contained within this word.

Akh
I wrote in the 2012 article that Akh is "possibly the “light body” of various mystery teachings, and perhaps the Holy Guardian Angel"; I stand by this still, but have more to add: as experienced in time, it is the vehicle that can be closest to Netjer before we actually manifest our evolved or completed Sahu; outside of time the role it plays is more mysterious; it is said that deceased folks becomes akhs as stars in the sky - the light reference; akh may have more of a role to play in those that are pursuing the life of a sage or magi; the word for magick heka is also contained within this word (see also Sekhem) and that can not be overlooked; the crested ibis is one part of the glyph, so divine intelligence is suggested - the ibis being sacred to Djehuti, Netjer of Divine intelligence and the intellect in general; the small crossed disk has been called a placenta by Egyptology but I feel it is a reference to light from an unseen source; akh and sekhem are my primary candidates for the life force itself, two distinct parts that we don't currently understand. Perhaps in the distinguishing between the two we can better articulate all of the soul bodies so discussed by the ancients.









Tuesday, 18 October 2016

100 Days Of Sacred Art Afterglow



I have completed 100 days of consecutive posting of my work on my Instagram page. It was challenging, rewarding and bewildering.

Initially, I began the event as a challenge to keep me practising drawing on a daily basis. The rules were that no matter how dodgy the sketches were, I had to put them on the page.

By day 10 I was exhausted. However, I am not one to start something and not finish it, so I began to expand upon and reinterpret the rules. All of my work including previous sketches I had not published before where now included. I was able to include not seen before sketches - rough as they were - of my trips to the US and Egypt that inspired my most recent paintings.

Even this was proving limiting as my sketch vault was not chock filled, so I began to show sketches and previews of my (then) current painting The Netjeru In New York City, something as a rule I tend not to do.

The entire project occurred whilst I was completing TNINYC, and this had pressures of its own. Do I slow down the process of creating the painting (which was already proving to be my most challenging and intricate work to date) to keep the momentum of the project going without missing a day?

On a magickal and initiatory level, I feel like something has been achieved. I found something to publish every day even on those days when I really, really did not want to play. Much emerged as a result of this, including revelatory feelings that were hidden away about my artwork, my skills as an artist, as well as some amazing sketches for new paintings which would never have been realised had I not embarked on this adventure.

The last 18 months have been quite an insular time for me, and in a state of semi reclusion it came to be that stagnation was lurking. The 100 days project shook me up and out of this, finishing on the day after an auspicious birthday and full moon.


Above is the image that got the most "likes" in my project - a statue of the Goddess Sekhmet from a video a friend took inside the Turin museum. (The statue is a different one I used as the model for Ruby Sekhmet last year and a different angle).

I have also included below some that will one day become paintings.

Abandoned / Found 

Avatar, Angel, Netjeru, God

Winged Heru



Tuesday, 11 October 2016

The Netjeru In New York City

The Netjeru In New York City
60" x 30"
Acrylic, 23 carat gold leaf, sterling silver on linen
A long term vision, an inspired trip, Lawren Harris and echoes of previous paintings 

The idea for The Netjeru In New York City has been gestating for some time. The process required another trip to NYC at the beginning of last year to complete the vision and pull the concept together.

The third and final New York related piece of The Netjeru In America series, the painting has been my most challenging and intricate to date, combining large scale and minute detail with the new process of gilding that I have been learning in the last 12 months.

The painting is a rendering of the New York Cityscape, with various Netjeru appearing on, in or above the buildings and landmarks that characterise New York City. The buildings also include 4 of the principal shrines of Ancient Kemet blended into the cityscape.

Buildings
I have chosen buildings that resonate with my idea for the piece, and also include iconic landmarks that had an impression on me for one reason or another during my visit(s) to the city so far. There are 21 in total. From left to right:

  • The apartment building that sits at the west entrance of Central Park and was featured in the film Ghostbusters
  • Commercial building
  • Woolworth building
  • Westin Hotel
  • Shrine of Pe
  • WTC waterfront building
  • St. Patrick's Cathedral
  • The Guggenheim Museum Of Art
  • Waldorf
  • Anonymous building
  • Shrine of Buto
  • Anonymous building 2
  • Empire State
  • Apartments in Chelsea
  • Shrine of Hierokonpolis
  • WTC waterfront building 2
  • Statue of liberty
  • WTC building 3
  • WTC waterfront 4
  • Shrine of Nekhen
  • World Trade Centre
  • Chrysler Building (Central Park)

The Netjeru
There are 32 Netjeru featured in the piece: 28 are depicted in anthropomorphic form, 1 in abstract form, 1 in animal form, and 2 in hieroglyphic form only. Every Netjer has Their hieroglyphic designation in an enclosing band (a device I have used from my earliest paintings), in this case a neon one.

The Netjeru along building tops and in the sky from left to right:
  • Ptah
  • Nut
  • Khepera
  • Heru
  • Khonsu
  • Nehebukau 
  • Astoret
  • Sutekh

The Netjeru inside the "Netjer boxes" from left to right, start top and go down and return to top:
  • Renenutet
  • MehUrt
  • Wepwawet
  • Wadjet
  • Anpu
  • Hehu
  • Atum
  • Shu (name in hieroglyphs in Atum's hand)
  • Tefnut (name in hieroglyphs in Atum's hand)
  • NebtHt
  • Ausar
  • Auset
  • Amon Ra
  • Mut
  • Sokar
  • Maat
  • Nekhbet
  • Sobek
  • Djehuti
  • Bastet
  • Nefertum
  • Sekhmet
  • Geb

Artistic elements: Lawren Harris and 2 of my earlier works
Sky
The skyscape in this painting was one of the earliest elements to dominate the artistic process. In fact, it was the first colour element to go on the canvas once the initial drawings were laid on.

I had experimented with different forms of layering and texture (including moulding paste) but felt like these were stepping too far away from the style I am developing with my paintings. A post on Instagram about the Boston Museum Of Fine Arts holding an exhibition of Lawren Harris paintings was the beginning of my resolving just how the sky would be detailed in the work.
I was able to get the precise layering of colours by measuring syringe loads of cerulean blue with degrees of titanium white (thank you Golden Paints new liquid format acrylics!)

The Netjer boxes
How would I render the boxes that some of the Netjeru are featured in? I had a clear idea that the pattern would correspond with the skyscape, but I was stumped for the colour almost the entire way through. It wasn't until I pondered why one of my former art works, The Ark Of Millions was repeatedly popping into my head that I began to take a closer look as to intuitively, why.
The distinctive colour that makes up the background to that work is an unusual one found in the tombs of Kings Horemheb and Ramses I, and I was able to mimic it by using a smalt hue / titanium white mix. By using a similar process of gradation that I used for the sky I then found my colour schema for the boxes.

Hieroglyphics
The hieroglyphs are rendered in a similar way to those featured in Ark Of Millions, and I thought initially that this was why it had been on my mind; but it was only the neon glow aspect that I was borrowing from that work. I could not figure out the colour fill for the glyphs until Material Immortality began appearing in my minds eye in a similar way. This painting was actually hanging up in my studio at the time, so it was very present in my everyday world. Again, the background colour was the beckoning element and so a cobalt green / titanium white mix is the colour that fills the glyphs in The Netjeru In New York City..

Gilding
I have been studying traditional iconography for well over a year now, and in fact viewed a rather extraordinary exhibition of icons here in Melbourne the week I left for the aforementioned trip to the United States. The traditional form of guiding I have learned has been applied for the first time in one of my own works with this painting.

The Ancient Kemetic And How It Manifests Today
Out of all of my paintings to date, I feel that this work encapsulates the fullstop (I am aware that I have not included one) at the end of the sentence written above.
NYC is one of the world's most sophisticated cities, an icon of the modern and perhaps a representative of what civilisation has become; to juxtapose this man made behemoth with the divine understandings of a culture long past seems at once pointless and intriguing concomittanlty. Can the divine be found in the extreme of civilisation that we have created? And how will it be / look when we find it?

The Netjeru - but not nature - is what my painting reveals. The one tiny slither of Central Park - the focus of last year's This Has All Happened Before And This Will All Happen Again - is almost unnoticeable in my representation here.

If we can not find the divine in nature any more, then how will we find it?

I do believe that Whitley Strieber has devoted a large portion of his life exploring this. Most notably, Super Natural suggests what can happen when mechanics and materialism have cemented over our deeper understanding of being connected with nature and the wonders of what went before.

It was a fun process bringing this painting into being, and extremely intense. A much earlier idea to do separate little portraits of each Netjer has been realised in this piece, somehow without my consciously addressing the paradox of modern and ancient, before and after. Somehow this piece evolved that idea all on its own.


Original sketch for The Netjeru In New York City
February 2015
One of my favourite photos from the 2015 US trip
The Divine Goddess Sekhmet and me
Brooklyn Museum, February 2015


Tuesday, 27 September 2016

The 7 Scents Of Setken

My deeper foray into essential oil exploration began about 18 months ago. I write deeper as I have actually been intrigued and in love with essential oils for most of my adult life, having been seduced by them in my late 20’s thanks to my friend Jan Douglass (who sadly no longer specialises in the aromatherapy field).

A health crisis (injury) pulled me up to a point of enforced rest last year and made me stop and smell the roses. Literally, actually. I had began working with a healing modality called The Liquid Crystals which are remedies along the same lines as Bach Flower essences. Each of the remedies had corresponding essential oils. Some I had never heard of, and what’s more, were hard to find unless you went online.

So my journey went way beyond the dusty shelves of health food store racks that stock the obligatory lavender and peppermint bottles, and into a world of scent where the gods themselves reside. I have taken to the essential oils as I would imagine an entheogen enthusiast would, and list below 7 of the most delectable, sacred scents that never leave my olfactory turntable.

These are the scents that I will use in meditation and for focusing when I am at a particular stage of painting a work. Whilst putting these in rank of favourite is near impossible, I will leave the most powerful to the end.

Not a top 12 but . . . .

If this were a Top 12 I would have to mention the power of these fragrances also:
Palo Santo (bursera graveolens)
Pink Lotus (nelumbo nucifera) also called Sacred Lotus
Blue Lotus (nymphaea caerulea)
Cedarwood (juniperus virginiana)
Rockrose (cistus ladanifer) also known as labdanum and Rose Of Sharon

The 7 Scents

Sandalwood (Australian) (santalum spicatum)
The exotic wood smell of sandalwood has the ability to transport one into a meditative space immediately. It is not a heavy wooden scent but an intense one that invites deeper inhalation and with it, greater contemplation. 
I prefer the Australian variety to the Indian ones that I have sampled, but am intrigued by Hawaiian sandalwood, which I wonder if it will have a salty note to it?

Galbanum (ferula galbaniflua)
The heady and commanding scent of this Mediterranean flower is both focusing and dispersing of one’s contemplative tendencies all at once. In the same way that kerosene alerts you to its presence, galbanum does so also albeit with a rewarding, clarifying tone that does not engender chemical alarm.

Rose (rose damascena)
The king of florals that produces instant calm, rose has a luminescent quality that brings emotional equilibrium and inspires a harmonic stillness. Yet this stillness is not of this realm and hard earned - given how many petals of this precious flower are required to make but one drop of essential oil. 
The aromatic blessings bestowed by this oil can not be overrated. 

Copaiba (copaifera reticulata)
Woody in a way that echoes sandalwood, but which takes you in a completely different, upward spiral of olfactory adventure, this subtle but obsessive fragrance speaks of hidden dimensions within its molecules that in turn mirror the hidden ones in you. I have sampled two types of Copaiba – both are oleoresins and considered a balsam.
One is from YoungLiving and the other Simplers Botanicals – the later has a greener note to it than the former.
I have experienced real and prolonged “feel good” states after inhaling this essential oil, and am led to understand that this is owing to the high content of beta-caryophyllene which has been studied for its ability to modulate the body's response to irritation.

Frankincense (boswellia sacra)
Frankincense has been a personal favourite for years, but using it in meditation and prayer practice has become commonplace for its ability to engender a spiritual (or sacred) state.  It is commanding in the same way that galbanum is, yet it has a subtle, softer tone that beckons burgeoning spiritual states to emerge and become manifest in this world. 
I am familiar with many types of frankincense now – serrata, neglecta, olibanum, and caterii – and whilst I enjoy all of these, sacra (sacred frankincense) is my preferred. 
I have frankincense from Young Living, Pro Oils and Floracopeia

Myrrh (commiphora myrrha)
Calmative, exhilarating, exciting and sacred are words that describe myrrh. Like frankincense, this has been a favourite for years, but as my olfactory senses develop I find new, richer depths to this woody resin that find me sticky in my spiritually indeed. 
It is a kind of bliss to be trapped in myrrh’s exotic clutches, and dare I say it may indeed bring us closer to parts of our soul anatomy more readily than most of the others.


Agarwood (aquilaria species of which there are 8) 
also known as aloeswood and oud / oudh
I was not prepared for the overpowering ominousness of agarwood when I first encountered it earlier this year. I am obviously predisposed to woody essential oils but to describe this fragrance simply as woody is to do it a grave injustice.
I mentioned soul anatomy in relation to myrrh above; but if there were a scent to be anointed with in order to take ones physically immortal body into the realms where the other 8 pieces of soul anatomy reside, then this is that scent. 
A sacred scent (like many of the above) to many ancient cultures and religions for a very long time, oud is especially favoured in the Arab world and beloved of Islam.
Wood that has been regenerated with spiritual fire, wood that has survived decay to become a new holy thing, wood that is wet and wood that is caramel are just a few ways I can describe this majestic fragrance. And yet no words can do this justice.
The agarwoods that I own are from Grandawood, and called Wild Dark Merauke and Wild Cambodian.

 
A sketch trying to convey the sentiments expressed above; the device is a nebulising diffuser - my "olfactory turntable"

Sketch for painting "Liquid God"; the chemical equations are that of the aquilaria tree, the Netjer featured is Setesh





Monday, 15 August 2016

100 Days Of Sacred Art

On my Instagram page I have started a project where I publish a sketch a day for 100 days.

The idea has emerged in order to keep me practising drawing every day. Without my sketching and drawing skills my paintings can't exist, and it has been a practice I have been lacking in paying attention to. It has helped stimulate new ideas and one recent sketch began a rather intense healing episode!

As I still work full time it has not been easy to produce a new sketch every day, so the project has evolved to incorporate other elements of my work (like early sketch / drafts of earlier paintings).

It has been quiet on the blog because of my art work, so Instagram can fill some gaps in the meantime. Some of the sketches are done quickly and as practice, whilst others have more craftsmanship evident. I am including everything including the rough and raw as an insight into my methods and craft.

A scene from the sarcophagus of King Seti I

The forgiveness of Khnum

An older sketch and template for another painting in my Sacred Bull series: Hap

Heru - original sketch that appears in my new painting The Netjeru In New York City; the glyphs have been revised in the painting to keep with cannon

Original sketch for my new painting The Netjeru In New York City; this is from my Netjeru In America series 

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Spiritual Insomnia (My Restless Ka)


Spiritual Insomnia (My Restless Ka)
Acrylic on canvas 42" x 32"
March 2016
My 2nd completed work for 2016 is a study of one part of a tripartite statue that I extensively photographed in late December last year in the Cairo Museum.

Said statue is the coronation of Ramses III where the king is being blessed by Set and Heru. This same piece was also a focus for my 2013 painting, The Artist As Beloved Of Heru And Set, which was included in the Blake Prize Director's Cut that year. Unlike the 2013 work however, the focus of my latest is on Set exclusively.

In my opinion this is the most exquisite statue of this god remaining from antiquity. I wanted to capture it from as many angles as I could, and the photography amnesty at the Cairo Museum (a major reason for going there late last year / earlier this one) permitted this. It was something I had dreamed about doing up to that point. And photograph away, I did.

My restless ka flew to the Cairo museum, and in a whirlwind of breathless amazement, left with inspirations for many new works . . . . the first of which I feature here
The selected colours
My painting features only a handful of colours. The statue itself is rendered in Red Oxide and Burnt Umber - colours I likely would never have used had I not began studying Iconography painting last year. Indigo and 4 shades of purple (ultraviolet, 2 types of light violet, and a white violet blend) make up the rest of the palette.

Burnt Umber captures the colour of the actual granite statue itself, whilst the Red Oxide captures the inner fire of the statue that I felt in its presence. These colours interact well with one of the two Light Violets that I have utilized. The main Light Violet used in the background is the colour of the walls in the part of the museum where the statue is situated, and actually weaves through the statues in my painting upon closer inspection.

Spiritual Insomnia (My Restless Ka) detail
Serpents, iconography
I became intrigued by friezes of serpents as I toured the country; a particular collection (featured below) that was in the outdoor museum of the Temple Of HetHrt in Dendera inspired the top frame of this painting.

The frieze of cobras that lay outside in the grounds of the Temple Of HetHrt at Dendera
I spent a great deal of time searching out Set's icon in the cartouches of Seti I in the outdoor ruins of Karnak Temple, as well as at Seti I's mortuary temple in Qurna (Western Thebes). These are featured in the bottom frame of the painting.

Spiritual Insomnia (My Restless Ka) detail
The symbols in between each Set glyph are not hieroglyphs: they are a rendering of a decorative pattern I saw in the Cairo Museum. I find that place enchanting and wanted to include something of it as a homage to that iconic place, the current "temple" that houses all the wonders of Netjer that we admire today. I feel that this and the use of the wall colour in the painting satisfy that want.

A frieze that I noticed high above the staircases in the Cairo museum; a rendering of this decoration is included in my painting
The title of the painting
Who are we?
What are we?
Where are we?

These questions have plagued me since I was an infant. Whilst the search that they fuel has not always been centre front of my life, it has been there enough for me to know that it's always been there. It has created an insomnia in my being that often makes it hard for me to "fall in" with the flow of day to day material life . . .

As I face these questions rather in a more confrontational manner  now, my painting is an answer; this rendering of a relic of antiquity: a tale in paint of a near forgotten god - if not a misunderstood one - from one of the greatest civilizations our world has known.

My Netjer, my namesake (the second painting I have "signed"), a god of chaos, a god of magick, a dazzling god. A god of great strength. My ka can not rest . . . . until I know the answers to these questions. Until I know my Netjer . . . . My spiritual insomnia persists.

Spiritual Insomnia (My Restless Ka) detail
The emblem on the front doorway of the Cairo Museum
Spiritual Insomnia (My Restless Ka) detail