We Never Fell 65 x 39 oil on canvas, 2019

Artist Statement: This is an original painting, although the hand is a copy of the angel’s in Da Vinci’s Virgin and the Rocks (1494-50). The painting explores my idea that if Eve never ate the apple and ‘we never fell’ then we must still be in Paradise and, therefore, what our culture is doing to the Planet becomes our ‘ultimate sin.’ Yet, belief in such ‘sin’ makes sense coming from our cultural story that tells us we did fall from Paradise because of the disobedience of the ‘woman’,’ resulting in us being cast out from Paradise. Since then, so we are told , we are all born in sin, hence the need to be ‘saved.’

In the original story, the apple is said to represent the ‘knowledge of good and evil’ and that Eve and Adam were naïve and like children, not knowing they were naked and not knowing right from wrong. Additionally, the snake, once the ancient symbol of the Goddess, is the one who tempted Eve to disobey, thereby earning God’s curse. However, here Eve is letting the snake know she already has all she needs. Therefore, the painting argues that we need to start telling ourselves that not only did Eve already have ‘knowledge of good and evil,’ but that she used it and as a result…we never fell. And if this is the case, that we are still in Paradise, then we need to drastically rethink our socially and environmentally destructive culture

Bio: Dr. Phoebe Godfrey is an Associate Professor-in-Residence in Sociology at UConn. She is the co-founder of the non-profit CLiCK (Commercially Licensed Co-operative Kitchen) in Windham that is an incubator for local food businesses. She considers her teaching and non-profit work as central to her commitment to social and ecological justice. In addition, she is an exhibited artist, who uses her art to critically explore social and environmental issues.

Cover Photo Original Art by Dr. Phoebe Godfrey