WHY or the
story of the Honey Ant Song.
engaged in a struggle for understanding and searching for an
expression with the most precise and nescessary substance, I
sometimes wonder: why do it? Why use so much time and so many
efforts to create a work of art?
in doubt about the meaning of it all, I remember the anecdote
about the Honey Ant Song, and the sheer beauty of it makes
me go on.
1971 an australian teacher Geoffrey Robert Bardon ( 1940-2003)
persuaded some aboriginal men from the Pintupi tribe to make a
painting on a wall of a school in Papunja, an aboriginal
settlement 250 km. west of Alice Springs. The name of the painting
was Honey Ant Dreaming, and it contained the secrets of the
aboriginals showing the symbols from the time of creation or
dreamtime, when the ancestral beings wandered the earth. The
painting became the start of the Western Desert Painting Movement,
and this part of the story is very well know to day as well as the
marvelous art of the aboriginals.
aboriginals standing in front of the Honey Ant Dreaming
that is not the important part of this story. The real impressive
and heart touching part is the reaction from some women seing the
mural. Standing in front of the painting, they started to sing the
Honey Ant Song without being told, what the painting was about.
They did understand and recognize its message at once, although it
was a secret and hidden behind difficult symbols. That is what art
is about. The connection and the understanding. The building of a
bridge between human beings. The working with structures and
messages common for the human race.
anecdote got a new meaning for me on a juried exhibition in
Roskilde in november 2011. I had received an award, and there was
a session, where the judges gave their arguments for the awards.
One of the judges, a very competent, young female artist,
explained my picture exactly, as I had intended it in every
detail. In her speech she showed a very precise understanding of
the goals, the means and message. Part of the painting can be
seen on the photo below. This demonstrated clearly to me,
that there is a common languge some of us understand, that there is a
Honey Art Song and an expression, that can be transported from one
human to another on many levels - and with much beauty.
I had exactly
the same experience, when I stood in the studio of the american
painter Royal Nebeker looking at his art in May 2012.
Understanding the language that told so many stories without
And now again
I have experienced it on the last day of 2012, when Resident
Curator on Artists2artist Kristen T Woodward reviewed my painting
"Talking in the Night" with great understanding and
is why it is so important to go on striving to reach ones artistic