Patricia Watwood, Sixth Extinction, 2015

The artist writes “The Sixth Extinction highlights the vulnerability and crisis of our earth in our age of anxiety and climate change. The three women are allegorical figures: Gaia, the primordial earth goddess, a caryatid and a naiad—all classic characters drawn from the history of art and cast to symbolize humanity’s precarious position.” The central figure Gaia has a prosthetic leg, which alludes to our technologically-driven attempts to fix the climate crisis. “There is a drone in the sky, and the large circle around the central figure is something like a camera view, or target… [that] refer[s] to the predominance of both technology and the sense of how it has infiltrated every aspect of our lives.” On the left a Caryatid holds up civilization. On the bottom right sits a Nereid (water nymph). Together the three figures symbolize earth, air, and water; all necessary elements for life on this earth. There are wild and domestic animals throughout the scene, pointing to how climate change affects not just humans, but all creatures.

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