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about setken


The artist at the 2024 NGV Pharaoh exhibition admiring a statue of King Seti II

Photo by Paul Compton

For Setken's origin story read below.
Otherwise go to the Linktree
to check out his online manifestations.


Late last century, I was faced with a choice. I was living in Adelaide and had been accepted into both the Centre For the Performing Arts as an actor, and the Stanley Street School Of Art in visual art. 

I chose the former and my artistic life pursuing performing arts commenced. 


But in November 2010 a lifelong desire to visit Egypt was realised. By the beginning of 2012 my urge to paint again was so great that I picked up a paintbrush and painted for the first time in over 20 years. I have not stopped since.


I have described my paintings as “Nouveau Kemetic”, “Neo Kemetic”, and “Neo Pharaonic” over the years. All of these terms speak to the inherent Ancient Egyptian themes that my paintings centre upon and the new take on those themes also. The term I currently prefer is Pharaonic Surrealism, but I am fine with folks thinking of my style as a form of Ancient Egyptian Fan Art.


I use an Ancient Egyptian name as my painting moniker and this name - Setken - is also the brand name for my art. The cartouche logo is my trademark.

Early days: The Blake Prize and The Director's Cut

 Three of my paintings were selected for the non-prize winning arm of the Blake Prize For Religious and Spiritual Art called "The Director's Cut". The Blake Prize has since undergone a change in administration and from the 65th Blake Prize the Director's Cut is no longer a part of the competition.

In the 62nd Blake Prize (2013) two of my works were selected: Winged Set and The Artist As Beloved Of Heru And SetIn the 64th (2016) Blake Prize Director's Cut my painting This Has All Happened Before And This Will All Happen Again, was selected. It is also featured on the cover of an academic book by Egyptologist Dr. Paul Harrison, Profane Egyptologists. 


Another painting, Nehebukau And The Ocean Of Reassurance is featured in a brand new Llewyn encyclopedia of Egyptian Deities by Dr. Tamara Suida. 

My exhibitions:

Neo Pharaonic 2018 ​

My debut exhibition Neo Pharaonic was staged in February 2018. A documentary was made about it that won some prizes in short film festivals in the US Short Film Festival Circuit. Neo Pharaonic featured 24 of my paintings and was staged over 3 days at Artboy Gallery in Prahran (inner city suburb of Melbourne)

Adventures In Zoomorphic Idolatry 2023

From July 8 - 21, 2023 I staged Adventures In Zoomorphic Idolatry at Dollhouse Gallery

in Brunswick East (in Melbourne) 14 paintings including unseen works, as well as talks and screenings of some of my films, made the event popular.

Bayside Local 2023 / 2024

My painting Beloved Of the Ibis God was featured in a group show at Bayside Gallery Brighton in their showcase of local artists from November 15 2023 to February 25 2024.


I am writing, acting, and am in the process of creating a computer game that features my art called The Book Of The Divine Insects. I am also developing a board game version.

The sacred expressing Itself through art is of great interest to me: I casually study comparative religions through educational resources like Audible, podcasts, and traditional learning.

I have a deep interest in the elements of the soul that I refer to as soul anatomy, most especially as expressed by the Ancient Egyptians. I consider myself an amateur Egyptologist and study hieroglyphics to this end, as well as pharaonic and modern Egyptian history (especially the first Egyptian Prime Minister Saad Zaghloul).

In January 2024 I was offered a residency at Dunmoochin Estate - Clifton Pugh's illustrious artist estate in Cottle's Bridge. However, owing to my current commitments to frequently traveling interstate, I unfortunately had to turn it down. I intend to pursue this again at a later date when the next rounds occur.

I am an amateur bodybuilder and continue my fitness training after leaving a long career in that industry. I love alternative therapies  - salt therapy, red and infrared light, meditation, dreamwork, and essential oils figure in my overall caper.

June 2024



The artist out front of the Temple Of King Seti I in Abdju (Abydos), Egypt

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