This piece celebrates the numerous benefits the Grateful Dead performed.  Seventeen references are hidden within this piece.




This image by Una Toibin was in part inspired by her respect for indigenous people all around the world, both past and present. The importance of the environment concerns, particularly the rainforests, which the band embraced during their career is reflected in the image. From Merl Saunders’ under-appreciated 'Blues for the Rainforest' to the Rainforest Benefit concerts and support by the Rex Foundation, their concern was and remains real.


Within the image there is a Nahuas (Aztec) inscription “in xochitl, in cuicatl” that translates to “flower and song” which “refer specifically to the composing and performing of song-poems and to refer generally to creative, artistic, and metaphorical activity (e.g. singing poetry, music, painting/writing [the Nahuas regarded painting and writing as a single activity]). As Teotl’s (God’s)“flower and song” the cosmos is Teotl’s grand, ongoing artistic-cum-metaphorical self-presentation; Teotl’s ongoing work of performance art or “metaphor in motion” (Markman and Markman 1989). This sounds very Grateful Dead, indicating that they are indeed playing by ancient or timeless rules.


Also in the image are replications of Stone Age ancient faces that were etched into rocks recently discovered by archeologists in the Amazon tributary near the jungle city of Manaus. The rocks were exposed when the water level fell due to drought.  The discovered etchings are thought to be between 3,000 and 7,000 years old and help prove that the Amazon delta was more widely inhabited than previously thought.


The combination of music, art, mystery, nature and time hanging in the balance are themes that are very Grateful Dead and most certainly themes that will continue

to resonate in the music for years to come.


~ brian toibin



Client: Adam Blumenthal

Curious Sense, Inc.

© 2016 Una Toibin