“I’m now 59 years old, and my quality of life is poor. But while I continue to work, even though it’s more difficult every day, I feel a terrible sadness. When we talk about environmental damage, we speak of declines in populations. Numbers and species. But I’ve experienced the suffering of so many creatures trapped in their polluted habitats. I now hope their voices can be heard—that my art might create a sense of awe, a sense of connectivity and reverence for the natural world.

I completed Adam in 2015. If I had left him unfinished, this all would have been for nothing. I often think of Beethoven, who suffered from lead poisoning; he lost his hearing and producing his work became an angry struggle. In the end, he had to create his music from the memory of sound. I was creating my art from the memory of joy. When I look at Adam, I feel grief—both for myself and our planet. But I also feel satisfaction because he is magnificent. That’s how I find my hope. I call him my beautiful death.”

“Adam, the first man” sculpture by Gillian Genser