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God Garden

Herbert Singleton

mid 1990s
Paint on solid wood (door)
80 1/2 x 32 3/4 x 1 1/4 in.
Art of the Americas
Accession Number

A master carver, Singleton incises the door panels with renderings of Adam and eve’s creation, temptation, and expulsion from the Garden of Eden. A tree of knowledge bearing apples forms a cross between the four panels. Sinuous black snakes frame the scenes, bringing attention to the biblical lesson that malevolent temptation is omnipresent and encompassing.

Singleton understood the constant allure of temptation. He lived in the Algiers area of New Orleans amidst a culture of drug use and violence. Singleton spent at least fourteen years in and out of Angola Penitentiary.

Expressing man’s responsibility for himself, Singleton, not a church-going man, said, “No matter if you are going to a preacher, a priest, a psychiatrist, a witch doctor, or a voodoo queen, you’re only getting confidence by proxy. Can’t nobody solve the problem but the person his self.”

God Garden