This art work is about 2 things – Gaia the fertility goddess and Gaia the scientific hypothesis.
Here are a few details about Gaia the Goddess. She is often depicted as a beautiful and voluptuous woman. Her attributes are the earth and fruit. She is said to be a primal mother goddess, complete in herself and was “born” out of Chaos, but this was not really a birth; as Chaos receded, Gaia came into being.
Regarding the Gaia hypothesis, I have included an excerpt from: http://www.gaiatheory.org/
‘Gaia Theory, which holds that Earth’s physical and biological processes are inextricably bound to form a self-regulating system, is more relevant than ever in light of increasing concerns about global climate change. The Gaian paradigm of Earth as a living system, first articulated by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis in the 1970s, has inspired a burgeoning body of researchers working across disciplines that range from physics and biology to philosophy and politics. Gaia in Turmoil reflects this disciplinary richness and intellectual diversity, with contributions (including essays by both Lovelock and Margulis) that approach the topic from a wide variety of perspectives, discussing not only Gaian science, but also global environmental problems and Gaian ethics and education.
Pick up a newspaper or listen to the news and you’ll quickly see that our understanding of the Earth and our relationship to it has never mattered more. The Gaia Theory offers insights into climate change, energy, health, agriculture, and other issues of great, if not urgent, importance.
Overall, the Gaia Theory is a compelling new way of understanding life on our planet. It argues that we are far more than just the “Third Rock from the Sun,” situated precariously between freezing and burning up. The theory asserts that living organisms and their inorganic surroundings have evolved together as a single living system that greatly affects the chemistry and conditions of Earth’s surface. Some scientists believe that this “Gaian system” self-regulates global temperature, atmospheric content, ocean salinity, and other factors in an “automatic” manner. Earth’s living system appears to keep conditions on our planet just right for life to persist! The Gaia Theory has already inspired ideas and practical applications for economic systems, policy, scientific inquiry, and other valuable work. The future holds more of the same.’
In my piece of art work I have tried to show the resilience of the earth. I have depicted her in a harlequin dress showing her ability to bounce back after misfortune. In her hand she holds a pressure gauge which bends a piece of the sky/universe, into the shape of a scythe. The curtain to the right suggests she is on a theatrical stage and is made up of flowers, fruit and water. I have rolled it at the bottom to take on the form of a rolled up carpet, making reference to the Russian theory of time, which says that time is already written and that it is like a person in a rolled up carpet. You know the person is there but you cannot see them until the carpet is unrolled. Thus time and events are there but are not exposed, until time is unraveled into the present moment.
In her hand, my Gaia is holding an ‘iceberg’ in a glass. This refers to the scientific theory which states that:
‘The density of the ice is less than the water so it floats. The mass of the ice displaces the same mass of water to set the level.
When the ice melts it becomes water and is therefore the same density so displaces the same as before so the level does not change.
Archimedes in ancient Greece (250BC +/-) is credited for the discovery of this principle.’
This means that our fears about the earth becoming flooded by global warming are wrong and that Gaia again will restore the balance. I have depicted my figure as a ballerina. Ballerinas work hard and are strong and yet they stay balanced and beautiful just like the earth.
My painting also gives a warning. If we mess around with the planet too much, for example: by shooting pellets into clouds to disperse hailstones, and thus, wind streams; or cut down rainforests; or build nuclear plants in earth quake zones; or over populate the world with people; then, if it endangers the smooth running of the planet, the power of Gaia will be felt with full force, as it tries to restore balance. The power of nature is awesome and indestructible. No wonder we call natural disasters ‘Acts of God’ ! (or should that really be ‘Acts of Goddess Gaia’? lol) .