Wednesday, 15 October 2014

The First Artists

Ghostly in the dark like white five-petalled 
flowers, little suns glowing against red 
clouds of powdered paint; carefully stencilled 
human hands pressed against unyielding rock
inside the cave. For forty thousand years 
this skilful painting has lasted. And now 
we see images by the pioneers 
of human abstraction. Hands. Pig deer. How 
we long to know what they are signalling. 
New dating means we’re sure that what we see
came out of Africa. What’s their meaning? 
Are they marks of arcane ceremony? 
Their beauty beckons, only revealing
our hands match theirs. We are their legacy.

Discovery transforms ideas about how humans first developed the ability to produce art.

©Sue Norton