“The Anthropocene is a proposed geological epoch dating from the commencement of significant human impact on Earth’s geology and ecosystems, including, but not limited to, anthropogenic climate change.”
– Wikipedia description
The Anthropcoence is an important theme in my practice. I am interested humans have become detached from nature, why we have developed a belief that we are at the centre of everything. The notion that nature is separate from us and is there to serve us is something I have never felt aligned to, because to me humans are part of nature.
Historian Keith Thomas suggests this belief system began long ago in his book ‘Man and The Natural World‘.
He cites the Bible as a contributor to this long-established human-centric view. With the rebellion of Adam and Eve being the start of man’s control over nature and thus the downfall of it.
I wanted to make a drawing inspired by this theme and in particular this text. A historical piece that tells the story from of Adam and Eves peaceful natural Paradise, to its fall and degeneration and finally the world we currently live in as influenced by that.
This digital drawing evolved out of my idea and an initial felt tip drawing. It has a tapestry like composition, split into three sections that show a different time.
The top panel depicts a serene Garden of Eden with the lion and lamb lying together peacefully and features a tree with one single red apple growing. I took inspiration from religious paintings of Paradise and The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch.
The middle is after the fall of Paradise due to human rebellion. A stark contrast from the top section, with the lion now ferocious and the lamb running for its life. The Garden of Eden now resembles Bosch’s depiction of hell more closely. The apple tree has been struck down and the now eaten and decaying apple is on the ground.
The final section at the bottom is like a mash up of the two above it. Picturing a modern day road through an agricultural land. It may appear stable and alright at first glance. However when you notice all of the roadside rubbish and the car exhaust pollution it is clear that this scene is not an idyllic landscape, but more of a realistic telling of the negative impacts we have had on the natural world. Even the deceptively natural looking hills show that the Earth has been intensely meddled with by man for agricultural purposes. Everything curated to prioritise human interests over the interests of the planet as a whole.
I am hoping to digitally print ‘Paradise Falls’ onto fabric as nod to tapestries, with the text excerpt from Man and The Natural World on the back.