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Nehebukau And The Ocean Of Reassurance Again

Nehebukau And The Ocean Of Reassurance Again

Mixed media (acrylic, modelling paste) on canvas

36” x 48”

June 2024


This latest painting is a revival and merging of two earlier paintings. It is inspired by one of these being granted the honour of being included in Dr. Tamara Siuda’s Complete Encyclopedia Of Egyptian Deities. The encyclopedia was released in April to much acclaim, and topped the best seller list in its category on pre-orders alone.

Video of receiving the box of CEED’s and my first glimpse of seeing my painting featured in its pages

My 2017 painting Nehebukau And The Ocean Of Reassurance is featured on page 357 of the encyclopedia under the entry for the serpent deity Nehebukau for whom the painting is named. (The encyclopedia erroneously lists the production date of the painting as 2007).

Images: (top)The Deluxe version of the encyclopedia slipcase; (middle) the regular cover; (bottom) Nehebukau entry page


Background for the original painting: Nehebukau And The Ocean Of Reassurance

Nehebukau And The Ocean Of Reassurance

Mixed media (acrylic and modelling paste) on linen

72” x 48”

April 2017

The piece was created in 2017, but the event that inspired it occured in 1988.

I had graduated from Drama School in Adelaide late 1987 and moved to Melbourne early the following year. At the time, I was as much steeped in Theosophy as I was in acting and was expecting big things to happen from my move to Melbourne.

I knew that Melbourne had a big spiritualist foundation and curiously, my research into our colonial past explores this today, as I make new paintings relating to that era.

At the college where I studied acting my head drama tutor David Kendall - a Melbourne theatre luminary who had been in The Pram Factory, Malthouse and La Mama, some of the city’s most iconic theatre houses - inspired me to relocate.

After 6 months I took off and lived in Queensland for 18 months, where even more metaphysical adventures awaited me, but not before the event occurred to which the painting refers.

A ritual from 1988 recalled for the future

In 1988, I was compelled in the early hours of the morning to travel down to the peninsula – a good 60 minute drive. At Sorrento beach I took a quartz crystal and planted it deep in the sand on the foreshore. Then, the jetty-like protrusion that grows out of the cliff face – depicted in my paintings – beckoned for another part of the ritual. 

Exactly what I was doing I know not, but seeing as Nehebukau is also a time deity it may well have been to connect me to the period when I would return some 20 years plus later and make paintings about the gods and my metaphysical experiences.


Details about the original painting

Nehebukau And The Ocean Of Reassurance was my first attempt using modelling paste which gives the detail of the waves in the dark ocean over where the god appears.

Most of the amulets of the god bequeathed to us from antiquity featured the god as a standing snake headed human with an erect penis. I saw a cabinet full of these in the Cairo Museum when I visited.

The purple graded sky is influenced by the paintings of Canadian painter Lawren Harris, whose landscapes I deeply admire.

The landscape details of the painting recall traditional iconography representation of mountains and cliffs, also featured in other of my works, like Montu Mountain, another work from the same year.

The hieroglyphs in the sky read: Nehebukau blesses Setken.

On the beach, I, the artist as a mystagogue receive blessings of protection and beautifulness streaming from the god’s hand.

Each of the 9 elements of soul anatomy are referenced in the hieroglyphs surrounding me as the blessings unfold.

The painting was exhibited in my debut 2018 exhibition NeoPharaonic at Artboy Gallery in Prahran. I recall the gallery owner Marc saying that this was his favourite piece.


The Unlikely Mystagogue

The Unlikely Mystagogue

Acrylic on wood panel 16” x 20”

April 2018

A much smaller companion piece to Nehebukau And The Ocean Of Reassurance was completed in 2018.

Titled The Unlikely Mystagogue, it features the aforementioned jetty / peninsula ritual from 1988 in a new reworking of that event as though it happened today.

I embarked on another project in 2020 where footage was filmed at Sorrento beach referencing both paintings (Nehebukau And The Ocean Of Reassurance and The Unlikely Mystagogue). I made other sequences with Nehebukau's iconic hieroglyph tattooed on my chest, referred to by Dr. Siuda in the encyclopedia.


2024 and the new painting: Nehebukau And The Ocean Of Reassurance Again

The interest in the original work inspired a rework that combined elements of both of the aforementioned earlier pieces.

I have kept most of the same themes inherent to those works as well as incorporating the later video project imagery, including the enigmatic hieroglyph (Gardiner list designation D30) unique to Nehebukau that I wore as a (temporary) tattoo for said works.

Nehebukau The Soul Serpent God Of Ancient Egypt

My experience of Nehebukau is that He helps me most with my experiential understanding of Soul Anatomy.

He is Director Of Forms, Master Of Shapes, Forger Of Next World Armour for those pursuing an immortal destiny.

Perhaps destiny is the wrong word? He is also known as Destroyer Of Eternity. Perhaps that is His purpose after all, giving us the capable bodies we need in the Duat and beyond in order to exist forever, so that forever is no longer a concept, but a thing . . . .

For a detailed and wonderfully nuanced discussion about the deity Nehebukau, see Dr. Siuda’s Complete Encyclopedia Of Egyptian Deities available from her website where limited copies of the deluxe version are still available.



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