Symbols of Homo Clairensis
In July of 2025, our understanding of human evolution changed forever with the discovery of remains of the branch of humanity we now know as Homo Clairensis in north eastern Alberta. For years to come, archaeologists and anthropologists will be studying the pictographs and cave paintings that have already provided a rich narrative of the culture of our not-too-distant cousins.
The archaeological site tells a tale of a culture that settled among the lakes and rivers that are now a part of Wood Buffalo National Park near Lake Athabasca. The preserved imagery of their drawn, painted and written history is well beyond what we have seen from other cultures around the world that were their contemporaries. It is difficult to say whether this is due to the luck of effective preservation or a more advanced visual language within their culture.
This series of paintings is my interpretation of some of the key pictographs that have been interpreted by linguists and anthropologists so far. Symbols are a rich vein for experimentation and exploration in the arts, especially the visual arts. Symbols often have rich and varied, even contradictory histories. Different cultures and subcultures may have drastically different perspectives and contexts for the same symbol. While modern symbols are often immediately evocative for viewers, these rediscovered pictographs will be unknown to almost everyone. Much like a symbol that is introduced for the first time within a culture, they require interpretation or explanation.
This series of paintings attempts to interpret the meaning and context of these pictographs, but still leave an essential element of mystery. After all, with the impossibility of first hand knowledge of the Homo Clairensis culture and language, who knows how much of my interpretation is derived from my own imagination?