Lillith and Adam

Julie DOWLING: artist

Not On Display

About the work

It is not commonly known but in the story of Christian creation, Adam
had a wife before Eve. In the old Semitic legends, Lilith (Adam’s first
wife) was created from the same earth as Adam. She refused to be
submissive to him and she eventually left him. Lilith holds mythical
symbolism and is known in Sumerian legends as the goddess of the
southern wind. She is said to have later married Enlil and Itud (the
Moon). The story goes that Lilith was the mother of the first Vampires.
Later Hebrew texts mark her as the spirit of evil air and diseases.
Many argue that the latter derogatory legends came about from the
forced submission of women in society.
In this painting I wanted to show Adam as a First nations man in western
clothing holding some leaves between his fingers. The white ghost/wind
form of Lilith sits naked looking at her husband as if about to depart
from him. The background is symbolic of the garden of Eden.
This painting reflects the pressures and derision placed on mixed raced
marriages from a broader racist society.
Lillith and Adam
Artist/Maker and role
Julie DOWLING: artist
oil on canvas
76.0 x 60.5 cm (painting)
81.3 x 66.5 cm (frame)
Credit line
Gift of Brigitte Braun, 2017
The State Art Collection, The Art Gallery of Western Australia
Accession number

This is one of the paintings in our collection.