The APS Mdina Cathedral Contemporary Art Biennale – Regaining a Paradise Lost: The Role of the Artist

‘Forgive Us, For We Have Misunderstood’

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‘Forgive Us, For We Have Misunderstood’ is a hybrid artwork that comments on the ill-fated relationship between humans and nature. Contemporary humans fancy themselves as being deities at the pinnacle of creation. Consequently, they exploit the natural environment as if it is their right and privilege to do so. This attitude shows little regard for the Great Narrative that reveals their banishing from eternal paradise. Even though in God’s plan, humans were meant to live in grace forever, they chose otherwise. Their arrogance and will to become gods – by eating from the tree of knowledge - led them to be thrown out of the Garden into the desolation and sorrow of the world. This story is emblematic of all the suffering that humans are capable of inflicting onto themselves and their environment, whether if it’s urban or natural. Perhaps one of the greatest sins of contemporary humans, notwithstanding their knowledge of good and evil, is their defiance and their resistance towards admitting the disasters they have caused onto the environment. Even though in the last decades some efforts have been made to resolve the environmental crises, these are meagre attempts when compared to the devastation already caused. This artwork, by its ‘cut-out’ aesthetic, seeks to represent a contemporary human reclining on a couch in a nonchalant demeanour. He is showing off his wisdom by resting his arm on his books and enjoying the fruits of his work by sipping a glass of wine. Showing through his (absent) body and the background are the results of his arrogance and faulty wisdom – scenes of destruction, sorrow and the paradise lost. The background of the artwork consists of a projection that can be manipulated by the viewers who become active participants in deciding the context within which the contemporary humans are portrayed. Will the viewers choose idyllic sceneries representing the paradise that was meant to be or will they choose scenes of destruction and desolation as a background to the contemporary man?
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