“Modern cave art is an ongoing exploration of petroglyphs, pictographs and rock art. Ultimately, these paintings represent a search for the meaning of the ancients. I’m compelled to paint these mysterious symbols using many artistic techniques and media, such as acrylic gels, encaustic painting, collage, acrylics on rice paper, fabric and raw canvas dipped in gesso, raw canvas and more. With every work in this cave art genre, I hope to intuitively reveal a sense of their hidden meaning.”
Mysteries in Cave Art. The Symbolism of Petroglyph Paintings
Artist Teyjah McAren’s interest in symbols, rock art, and cave petroglyphs was sparked upon travels in the American Southwest. Exploring Chaco Canyon, Bandelier, Mesa Verde, and Canyon de Chelly, she was struck by the solitude and mystery of these places. Her feelings were only heightened as she later discovered parallels in the rocky terrain of South Africa and of the signs that the indigenous cultures had left behind in the stone.
“What were these ancient cultures attempting to communicate? What do their pictographs and petroglyphs mean? Why did they feel the need to leave these symbols? Why did the ancients abandon their sites? What are our present beliefs and how do we convey them through symbols? Walking around these ruins I felt as if I’d walked into the past, yet these haunting landscapes still radiated a kind of energy.”
Teyjah paints the emotions she felt when she walked among the caves and canyons of these mysterious lands. She tries to portray the symbols she has seen and decipher the messages left by these ancient peoples — but these rocky lands do not yield their secrets easily.