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Sid Tafler

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What does cave art mean to you?

Stone Age art has fascinated people around the world since some of the first discoveries of cave paintings in France and Spain in the 19th century.
The recent Werner Herzog film "Cave of Forgotten Dreams," showcasing the spectacular panels of lions and horses at Chauvet, brought new attention to Paleolithic art.
If you haven't gazed into the deep past recently, do a web search for Lascaux, Chauvet or Altamira cave.

What do these arts forms mean to you?
Do you find them beautiful, primitive, artistically inspired, or something less?
Are these drawings art for art sake, an attempt by Paleolithic people to reproduce the world they experienced?
Or do they have some deep cosmic or spiritual significance?
Why did these people of 15,000 to 30,000 years ago often create these works in places that were difficult to access?
Were they trying to communicate with each other, access worlds beyond their own, or engage in hunting magic?
Or were they just enjoying themselves scratching and drawing on cave walls?


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    May 16 2012: 12000 years ago our paleolithic ancestors were emerging from an ice age. Caves must have been No1 on the agenda.
    If you strayed too far you probably did not come back. Time must have been their most precious commodity All of each day spent in finding and eating food and equipping, clothing and defending themselves. They must have been thinking on their feet all of every hour.
    These images we are discussing were not art. They were not paintings and they were not for admirers or to show off. They were fundamental celebrations of survival - footprints in the sand. and probably done from father to son - kind of strategy lessons, part of their growing up - What does a mammoth look like and how do you hunt it? draw your enemy and draw your food each night another trial tomorrow. They made it OK because we are still here. But now we have time to wrap up our expression and ask ourselves ''Is it Art?''

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