Sven Froekjaer-Jensen                                          WHY or the story of the Honey Ant Song. 



Being engaged in a struggle for understanding and searching for an expression with the most precise and nescessary substance, I sometimes wonder: why do it? Why use so much time and so many efforts to create a work of art?

When in doubt about the meaning of it all, I remember the anecdote about the Honey Ant Song, and the sheer beauty of it  makes me go on.

In 1971 an australian teacher Geoffrey Robert Bardon ( 1940-2003) persuaded some aboriginal men from the Pintupi tribe to make a painting on a wall of a school in Papunja, an aboriginal settlement 250 km. west of Alice Springs. The name of the painting was Honey Ant Dreaming, and it contained the secrets of the aboriginals showing the symbols from the time of creation or dreamtime, when the ancestral beings wandered the earth. The painting became the start of the Western Desert Painting Movement, and this part of the story is very well know to day as well as the marvelous art of the aboriginals. 

The aboriginals standing in front of the Honey Ant Dreaming Mural.  

But that is not the important part of this story. The real impressive and heart touching part is the reaction from some women seing the mural. Standing in front of the painting, they started to sing the Honey Ant Song without being told, what the painting was about. They did understand and recognize its message at once, although it was a secret and hidden behind difficult symbols. That is what art is about. The connection and the understanding. The building of a bridge between human beings. The working with structures and messages common for the human race.

This anecdote got a new meaning for me on a juried exhibition in Roskilde in november 2011. I had received an award, and there was a session, where the judges gave their arguments for the awards. One of the judges, a very competent, young female artist, explained my picture exactly, as I had intended it in every detail. In her speech she showed a very precise understanding of the goals, the means and message. Part of the painting can be seen on the photo below. This demonstrated clearly to me, that there is a common languge some of us understand, that there is a Honey Art Song and an expression, that can be transported from one human to another on many levels - and with much beauty.


I had exactly the same experience, when I in connection with one of my american awards visited the american painter Royal Nebeker  in May 2012. Experiencing his art led to an understanding of a language that told so many stories without words. Building the myths and bridge to other human beings in past and present. 

 Royal Nebeker in his studio at the waterfront in Astoria, Oregon near some of his paintings that were going to be shown on 8 american museums.

And now again I have experienced it on the last day of 2012, when Resident Curator on Artists2artist Kristen T Woodward reviewed my painting "Talking in the Night" with great understanding and empathy. 

That is why it is so important to go on striving to reach ones artistic goals.