Elfriede Dreyer, Paradise flooded, 2021. Mixed media on canvas, 1220x2420mm.
In Paradise flooded the ancient myth of the flood is evoked: it is a cataclysmic dystopian event but speaks about humankind's ability to survive. Flood myths have appeared in many ancient texts and have been described as ordained by a God or deities as an act of divine retribution through destruction. The flood waters of these myths and the primaeval waters in certain creation myths are usually viewed as a cleansing event and an occasion for rebirth. Innated to the myth of the flood is the idea of dystopia as either end-of-utopia or utopia-gone-wrong.
In this work the colour green has been used again in conceptual reference to a ‘green paradise’ – a good place – that resonates with current threats the environment and 'green' awareness. Flooding and dystopia as brokenness become intertwined with utopian green land, but it is more a case of paradise lost and paradise destroyed. Several small ‘scenes’ and ‘events’ are happening within the larger scene of destruction, showing buildings tumbling and collapsing; earth being broken up; people running towards safety; and more. Human construction and roads are washed away and titanic waves threaten to dissolve the once ‘ordered’ landscape into degenerating apocalypse. It is creation in destruction but also in reconstruction, almost in a sense of nature returning to its mythical original state of chaos.