While the beauty and artistic merit of the latest embellishment to the Cornish town of Saint Austell is undoubtedly in the eye of the beholder, the reaction to it by the local clergy was predicable.
In a letter signed by seven of their resident Christian reverends to the local council who sponsored the project, it was claimed that the statue was “an offence to God.” Perhaps it was the name, “Earth Goddess,” that upset them the most.
According to the Guardian (19 August 2022):
“One of the signatories, Rev Pete Godfrey of the Light and Life Church, said the concern was not the look of the piece but the spiritual significance apparently attached to it. He added: “We see very clearly laid out by God that we are to have no gods but him and we are not to make idols, which is essentially a statue that represents another god.””
The general consensus among the populace of this very conservative part of southern England is that they don’t like the “Earth Goddess” and would prefer it was removed.
Of course, folk said similar things about the “Angel of the North” …
…when it first appeared overlooking the A1 major trunk road near the north of England town of Gateshead. Now, if it was threatened with removal, there’d be a major outcry.
The “Earth Goddess” stands higher than two double-decker buses and is situated in one of the town’s squares. It does seem a little incongruous, but not because it lacks colour or fascination to the beholder. No, around it is some of the worst examples of modern architecture one could hope to see.
Behind the statue sits a grotesque building now occupied by the local “Boots the Chemist.” To the left (as it’s viewed) a tall grey, almost menacing slab of concrete, under which, and somewhat dwarfed by this monumentally diabolical construction, is a shopping arcade.
It’s truly hard to know which of the two camps one could enjoy insulting the most, the band of pitiful clergy with their outdated and medieval doctrine of life, or those with the nerve to call themselves architects, who were responsible for the grotesquely ugly, concrete structures that surround the “Earth Goddess.”
Maybe one day the people of Saint Austell, like the folk of Gateshead with their “Angel”, will wake up and embrace the colour, strangeness, and, yes, amusement even, that the mighty “Earth Goddess” can bring into their lives, if only they’d open their eyes and their hearts.