Take a Prehistoric pilgrimage in Starting from Scratch at National Museum Cardiff

By Culture24 Reporter | 12 October 2011
An image of a painting of an earth scene in abstract hues
© National Museum Wales
Exhibition: Starting from Scratch, Origins Gallery, National Museum Cardiff, until January 29 2012

Brian Graham has enjoyed what he calls a "Prehistoric pilgrimage." The Dorset artist has leaned over chalk and gravel pits, wandered around housing estates, business parks and railway stations, peered across eroding cliff faces and limestone quarries and braved caves, chasms, sodden meadows and fields.

His quest was to follow in the footsteps of people 950,000 years ago, attempting to retrace their creative methods through clues left by stone tools, human teeth and bones, charcoal and cut-marked animal bones.

The 14 works he has emerged with complement finds from key locations in Kent alongside highlights of the Palaeolithic collections at National Museum Cardiff.

"Travelling throughout Britain we encounter a varied, somewhat modified and often diverse landscape," he reports of his travels.

"In certain places, evidence of activity exhibited by our earliest human occupants has come to light. Our connection through time and place to these truly distant forebears provides much of the motivation underpinning my need to make art."

Elizabeth Walker, the show curator for National Museums Wales, says the union of contemporary and ancient insights is a "very exciting" one.

"It also reminds us just how far we as humans have evolved," she observes.

"Sites that today include the car park for Ebbsfleet International Station were once the hunting grounds of bands of Neanderthals."

  • Open 10am-5pm (closed Monday). Admission free.

More pictures from the show:

A photo of a grassy groyne on a beach strewn with pebbles
Clacton© National Museum Wales
An image of a painting of a gravel pit in white, brown and black
Pontnewydd Cave© National Museum Wales
A photo of grassland next to a large industrial train station
Baker's Hole in Kent© National Museum Wales
An image of a white painting of a footpath
Graham's view of Baker's Hole© National Museum Wales
A photo of an old stone wall and door in a leafy rural setting
Pontnewydd© National Museum Wales
More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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