Mixed media on linen (acrylic, 23-carat gold leaf, genuine platinum leaf) 72” x 48”
This painting marked a return to iconography techniques that I learned under my iconography tutor Rob Gallagher in 2015 - 2017. Gold and platinum leaf can be found where the larger images of deities are present. It was conceived and completed over Melbourne’s long 2 year lockdown.
Dominating this work is an image in gold of the goddess Neith, who appeared to me early in 2020 and thus the name of this painting. I chose this image of Her for the painting; it is the most famous of Her to modern audiences. She is one of the four goddesses protecting the shrine that encased King Tutankhamun’s internal organs discovered in 1922.
The sacred text – supplied to me by my friend and iconographer Ptahmassu Nofra Uaa from his upcoming book “The Book Of Utterances”, was originally written for King Djehutimose III (Dynasty 18):
Raise yourself upon your metal bones and your golden limbs For this body of yours belongs to a God It will not grow moldy, it will not perish, it will not rot The warmth which is upon your mouth is the breath that came forth from the nostrils of Setesh And the winds of the sky will be destroyed if the warmth which is upon your mouth is destroyed The sky will be deprived of its stars if the warmth which is in your mouth is lacking May your flesh be born to life and may your life be more than the life of the stars when they live Film projects I made in 2020 are referenced in the piece (2 of these films can be seen on closing night, July 21st) as well as a tiny homage to the painting Winged Sekhmet which sits opposite this work across the gallery space – in 2020 I completed the study for that work.
One of the more interesting elements of this painting is the celebration of my finally tracking down an image of an artifact that I had been looking for for years: a praying mantis coffin discovered by Belgian Egyptologist Bernard Bruyere in 1929.
The artist in a still from the 2020 documentary,
The Praying Mantis God Of Ancient Egypt
Francois Maresquier of Meretseger Books in France located it for me and it inspired a documentary about the praying mantis god Abyt and many paintings of the god Himself (like the ones coming up in this show!)
My rendering of the coffin in the painting can be seen bottom right and was based on the first of the two actual coffin images below.