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Oct 9, 2017

Living with Petroglyphs

Our cabin just by the petroglyphs, near Guasca, Colombia.
In what must be the rarest of opportunities, we are living for a week right next to a site of ancient petroglyphs! We got a couple-hours tour of the carvings from the landowner (who takes great care of his charges.) These remarkable images were created by the Muisca people (the most prominent culture at the time in this part of the world) sometime between 800 and 1538, when the Spanish came and broke up the party for everybody, and constitute some of Colombia's most important, located just downstream from a natural hot spring that was no doubt popular for hundreds of years.

In pre-colombian times his area (around Guasca, Colombia) was an important confluence of indigenous travel routes and thus was the site of important rituals, some involving as many as 10,000 individuals congregating from all over this part of the continent.
Circle figures refer to stars and are repeated around the world.
This set of petroglyphs are some of the more important ones, depicting the dominance of the sun over the other 4 critical elements, earth, fire, water and air. There appear some standing dancers that honor the sun's power. There are also figures depicting stars (concentric circles with long vertical stems) that are actually common to indigenous petroglyph sites around the world. Spirals (to the left indicate the spirit life, to the right that of the body). Also visible here is the frog figure––an important totem animal––in what is seen as both a festive position and one of alertness.
A frog appears beneath a figure.

These ancient symbols––looming over my days and nights––fills my heart with cosmic thoughts. The plebian modern concerns that so preoccupy us are lost among these powerful, mute reminders of the great arc of time that also forms part of our true story, though vastly more subtle. Here I am connected with these unknown ancestors by their powerful, speaking symbols, peering centuries on end from the cliff-face over the landscape, calling to eternity.

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Tim Holmes Studio

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I'm a sculptor/filmmaker living in Montana, USA. I am using art to move the evolution of humanity forward into an increasingly responsive, inclusive and interactive culture. As globalization flattens peoples into a capitalist monoculture I hope to use my art to celebrate historical cultural differences and imagine how we can co-create a rich future together.

I see myself as an artist/philosopher laboring deep in the mines of joy. I've had a good long career of exhibiting work around the world and working on international outreach projects, most notably being the first American to be invited to present a one-person exhibit in the Hermitage Museum. Recently I have turned my attention from simply making metal sculpture to creating films and workshops for engaging communities directly, tinkering with the very ideas and mechanisms behind cultural transformation. I feel that as we face tragic world crises, if the human species favors our imaginative and creative capacities we can cultivate a rich world to enjoy.

For me the deepest satisfaction in making art comes in engaging people's real life concerns rather than providing simple entertainment or decoration. Areas of conflict or tension are particularly ripe for the kind of transformative power that art uniquely carries. I invite any kind of challenge that serves people on a deep level.