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Nadja
Stolarski

The Mythology of the Anthropocene

Project details

Year
2020
Programme
Illustration
Practices
Autonomous
Minor
Public & Private

Within my project, I am creating artwork exploring scientific research to communicate the lived experience of biological and historical phenomena. We have the power to both destroy the world or save it. Nevertheless, on the blue sphere, humankind remains only a part of an interdependent ecological community. Instead of playing false gods who disregard and destroy the environment, we need to understand our role on earth. Our power to influence the ecosystems, make us the minders and stewards of the living world.

Nominee Drempelprijs Autonomous Practices

Man selects only for his own good: Nature only for that of the being which she tends – CHARLES DARWIN

Driven by my early interest in Archeology and my appreciation for nature I have decided to create an Installation, addressing and depicting scenes of the Anthropocene (The Human Epoch). Therefore, I am aiming to re-narrate in visually rich way scenarios of the Anthropocene, including the present epidemic, using traditions of ancient art and mythologies.

Since the beginning of mankind, we have been constructing mythologies to make sense of the struggle between humans and nature. We created myths about gods and natural forces punishing humans for rejecting the laws of the natural world. A myth then deals with meteorological and cosmological phenomena, in which gods represent natural forces. Often myths are timeless, which means that their place in the past (or the future) is indefinite.

After exploring the old ruins of Greece, Mexico and Egypt and studying its craft, I decided to implement storytelling through symbolism, as well as using characteristics of ancient artworks as the main inspiration for the visualization.

More about my project:

I am creating a 3- dimensional Installation, with the appearance of a monument, using wood engraving as the main technique to tell the story. The wooden sheets were painted beforehand with sustainable black paint, which adds a marble appearance and creates a contrast with the engraved parts. The used technique aims to create a permanent structure and adds a delicate touch and sensual experience to my design.

Dimension 2,44m x 2,44m

The main story takes place inside the monument in form of a triptych, depicting these three scenes: of the ‘Anthropocene’, showing the environment exposed to disasters caused by human impact; of the ‘Mythology’, showing the god of diseases sending an epidemic as warning and punishment to humans; and the ‘Restoration’, of nature, improving after humans are forced to stop their destructive actions. By Juxtaposing the two scenarios of the Anthropocene and the Restoration, we can choose how we continue our behavior towards nature.

The concept of constructing a monument, confronts the public about the present occurrence of the Anthropocene while depicting discomforting scenarios. Monuments create a sense of public memory, a globally shared narrative of our history or a current event. It can be seen as a focal point of public identity and gives cultural significance to a public space. The strong inclusion of visual storytelling aims to make the message understandable for people of different languages, cultures, and ages.

By including the current pandemic, I want to make people think about the positive effect of our current situation for mother nature.


In order to negotiate this epidemic, we have to work globally together as a community. The virus makes a clear statement: ‘The only way out is mutuality, a sense of belonging, community, the feeling of being part of something greater, that we are taking care and that we can be taken care of. The shared responsibility, the feeling that fate depends not only on you but also on everyone around you.’ If we can implement this value of community within our species to fight the epidemic, is there a chance to apply this ideology to our attitude towards the environment?


Due to Covid-19 and the recent restrictions there is a delay in finalizing and exhibiting the installation. – Will follow as soon as possible –

Research document “The Anthropocene: Are We Like Gods?”.