Allegory & Symbolism
This unusual artwork of nature was washed up on the shores of the small village of Dungeness on the shores of the Hinchinbrook Channel in north Queensland. It was found well above high water mark, where it had been left ‘high and dry’ by cyclonic storm surge.
Its visual similarity to an ancient rock carving of a fish that evolved into the powerful Rainbow Serpent symbol in Aboriginal mythology many thousands of years ago is remarkable.
In a report in the November 1996 issue of Archaeology in Oceania, it is explained how the Rainbow Serpent image derived from a species of pike fish. The significant representation of this ambiguous creature throughout ‘dreamtime’ provided the impetus for unity and peace amongst Aboriginal tribes, whose land was overtaken by a rising sea level over 6,000 years ago.
According to the extensive scientific study, the aborigines of an ancient land called Gondwanaland created a dynamic and powerful symbol from the opportunistic pike-fish (which travelled landward with the shoreline as the sea inevitably engulfed their land). This symbol today is undergoing a revival in many Australian aboriginal communities.
It is noted at through the ‘religious’ phenomenon of common symbolic identification, early Australian aboriginals were able to deal collectively with social conflict brought about by the sea level rise that occurred thousands of years ago.
One may ask ‘does the contemporary revival of the Rainbow Serpent symbol offer an opportunity to appreciate this ancient story in the light of the profound social change that may result from human-induced climatic change and associated sea-level rise?
– Lucinda, Queensland, Australia 1993
The dove has been a symbol of peace and innocence for thousands of years in many different cultures. In ancient Greek mythology, it was a symbol of love and the renewal of life and in ancient Japan, a dove carrying a sword symbolised the end of war. Within the sculpture’s stack white composition of curves an abstract dove image can be discerned.
Marco has collaborated as a member group of 37 artists promoting the ideal of peace through collective initiatives – Togetherness, Art for Humanity and Bondi TV.
The group engaged in collaborations with the Sydney University offshoot – The Peace and Conflict Studies Centre.
The lotus flower
The lotus flower has been a symbol of transformation and renewal for millennia in many cultural traditions.
The Lotus flower is regarded in many different cultures, especially in eastern religions, as a symbol of purity, enlightenment, self-regeneration and rebirth. Its characteristics are a perfect analogy for the human condition: even when its roots are in the dirtiest waters, the Lotus produces the most beautiful flower.
As a tubular form the centre of this sculptural is void. This void is hollow, windless and represents the stillness of the soul or the void of the “nirvana”.
Incidentally, this void at the centre of the sculpture provides a vertical space though which performers and dancers move during extraordinary performance exhibitions.
[Interpretation by Wicca Duxbury Massachusetts USA]
To interpret the sculpture from the top down, there are 3 superior points- the number ‘Three’ in numerology is a masculine symbol of God (in particular his genitals, in relation to creation).
Pictorially any two points look like Horns and are reminiscent of the pagan ‘Horned God’.
The body of the sculpture is circular, the circle being symbolic of the Goddess (in particular her womb, in relation to recreation). The sculpture is hollow also representing the womb.
Pictorially the body spiral’s down into the ground (“a realm of great mystery” and symbolic of death in the pagan belief ). On the ground are lights representing fire -another symbol of death from the ‘realm of great mystery’.
Now reverse and start from the bottom up. The lights and sculpture now can be seen as inspirational, the body of the Goddess is spiralling upwards recreating, and at the top emerges the Horned God.
The Descent of the Goddess – Pagan myth of unknown origin.
In ancient times, our Lord, the Horned One, was (and still is) the Consoler, the Comforter. But men know him as the dread Lord of Shadows, lonely, stern, and just.
But our Lady the Goddess would solve all mysteries, even the mystery of death; and so she journeyed to the Underworld.
The Guardian of the Portals challenged her: “Strip off thy garments, lay aside thy jewels; for naught mayest thou bring with thee into this our land”. So she laid down garments and jewels, and was bound, as all living must be who seek to enter the realms of Death, the Mighty One.
Such was her beauty that Death himself knelt, and laid his sword and crown at her feet, and kissed her feet, saying: “Blessed Be thy feet that have brought thee in these ways. Abide with me; but let me place my cold hands on thy heart.”
And she replied: “I love thee not. Why dost thou cause all things that I love, and take delight in, to fade and die?”
“Lady,” replied Death, “it is age and fate, against which I am helpless. Age causes all things to wither; but when men die at the end of time, I give them rest and peace and strength, so that they may return. But you, you are
lovely. Return not, abide with me.
But she answered: “I love thee not.” Then said Death: “An you receive not my hand on your heart, you must kneel to Death’s scourge.”
“It is fate, better so,” she said, and she knelt. And Death scourged her tenderly. And she cried: “I know the pangs of love.”
And Death raised her, and said: “Blessed be.” And gave her the fivefold salute, saying: “Thus only may you attain to joy, and knowledge.”
And he taught her all of his mysteries, and he gave her the necklace which is the circle of rebirth. And she taught him all her mystery of the sacred cup which is the cauldron of rebirth.
They loved, and were one: for there be three great mysteries in the life of man, and magic controls them all. To fulfil love, you must return again at the same time and at the same place as the loved ones; and you must meet, and know, and remember, and love them again.
But to be reborn, you must die, and be made ready for a new body. And to die, you must be born; but without love, you may not be born.
And our Goddess ever inclineth to love, and mirth, and happiness; and guardeth and cherisheth her hidden children in life, and in death she teacheth the way to her communion; and even in this world she teacheth them the mystery of the magic Circle, which is placed between the world of men and of the gods”
The “Beast of Confusion” was discovered inadvertently by marine researchers during fieldwork in the mosquito and crocodile-infested swamps of Duneoness on the shores of the Hinchinbrook Channel, far north coast of Queensland.
In this art of nature, crafted by organic growth and weathering processes, two extremes of expression are juxtaposed. At first sight, the beholder is struck by and immediately identifies with an expression of glee and joy. On further investigation a more sinister perspective of the human emotion becomes apparent. From this alternative angle, this innocuous piece of driftwood appears as a head of a beast with a gaping mouth and contorted nostrils – portraying the expression of shock and fear.
One profound side effect of rapid technological advancement can be that the boundaries between reality and virtual worlds can become more and more blurred. The ultimate effect of such a technological revolution on human emotions can be unpredictable and uncontrollable. It can create for the individual a disorientating and confusing predicament.
By inciting the imagination and emotion of admirers irrespective of cultural background, unique artworks of nature such as “The Beast of Confusion” can offer a contribution to the western or ‘foreign’ appreciation of the Australian Aboriginals timeless connection with the beautiful, yet harsh, Australian landscape.
– Byron Bay NSW Australia 1996