After the Fall

And God said “Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creepeth over the earth”. Genesis 26

 

From the beginning, in the Western tradition, mankind has assumed for himself a superior position in the world over the landscape and over the ‘lesser’ animals. The idea of man as a unique and progressive being is a view sanctioned by man-made religious belief systems. This orthodoxy held that it was the nature, the right and mission of ‘civilisation’ to tame and exploit the land and its animals in the name of a specific view of progress. This view has legitimised the destruction of biota over time and through the pressures of human colonisation, generations of industrialisation and resultant global warming many species are extinct or suffering greatly from human predominance. In an unlikely recasting of Australian mammals on a medieval European stage, Brenda Walsh subverts the historical order of things. Using both old and contemporary allegorical elements (Twin Towers and the Tower of Babel) and the intimate form of religious icons, she creates a world where animals dominate and watch the fall of humanity with pious indifference. With a bleakly comic atmosphere, the artist calls upon us to consider an alternate history where we are not in control.