Water is not the rarest element on Earth, but it is our most precious natural resource because every life form (plant, animal and human) depends on water. Most people know that water covers about two-thirds of the entire planet’s surface, but most of that is saltwater, and only about 2.5% is freshwater suitable for drinking and growing food. Furthermore, less than 1% of the world’s freshwater supply is available to humans and ecosystems because most of it remains frozen in the remote Arctic and Antarctic regions (Part I).
By Dimitris Lempesis
Photo: ART for The World Archive
On World Water Day, 22 March 2017 is inaugurated in Geneva the travelling exhibition “AQUA”, focusing on water and its importance to human beings, fauna and flora. The exhibition is the latest project of ART for The World, a non-governmental organization founded to build a bridge between art and society, with contemporary art serving humanitarian purposes. Peter Brabeck-Letmathe as chairman of the Nestlé S.A board appeared in the 2005 documentary “We Feed the World” and while speaking on the subject of water, he said “It’s a question of whether we should privatize the normal water supply for the population. And there are two different opinions on the matter… Personally, I believe it’s better to give a foodstuff a value so that we’re all aware it has its price, and then that one should take specific measures for the part of the population that has no access to this water”. The exhibition aims to emphasize our collective responsibility on the role and use of water in our world today, where water management is a major challenge and a priority objective of the 21st Century. As Adelina von Fürstenberg the Curator of AQUA says “…Water is essential to life for all living organisms however, by addressing a broad spectrum of compelling questions, water has become a major global challenge of our contemporary world. Who does water belong to? Is water a private good or a public resource?”. In the exhibition the works of 32 artists from differing horizons, touch on the preservation of water. The exhibition is conceived to raise public awareness of the notion of interdependence, essential to the conservation of our environment and to the future of our planet. When water is under menace, so too are all forms of life on Earth. Recognised as a vital life-giving element, water is essential to preserving biodiversity and ecosystems. As a human resource, it is at the centre of climate change and its consequences, a possible origin, or a subject of conflict. Eduardo Srur presents the installation “Hora da Onça Beber Água” an oversized inflatable jaguar alluding to one of the most beloved species of Brazilian fauna, now in danger of extinction. The work is installed on Île Rousseau on the Rhône River in the centre of Geneva where it can be seen daily for the duration of the exhibition. This work also aims to celebrate the ecological diversity which the jaguar embodies for Brazil and the world. In the exhibition we find a broad spectrum of reflections on water, presented in this publication by the artists themselves, for instance, the question of water’s sacredness in the film, “L’Eau- Ganga” by Velu Viswanadhan, or of drought in “One more Garden, One more Circle”, an ephemeral installation made of ashes by Maria Tsagkari. Pollution is particularly highlighted in the video installation by Noritoshi Hirakawa, “Harukasakura”, where the consequences of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe and the radioactive contamination of its waters which worsen daily. The video “Me, Water, Life” by Nigol Bezjian is poetic journey into the world of Syrian refugees in Lebanon and their dire situation dealing with water in their everyday life, hygiene, sewers, agriculture and more. From 1970 and until 1973, Alighiero Boetti, along with Anne-Marie Sauzeau-Boetti, undertook a long data collection creating a true fluvial database. The publication was produced in 1977 and titled, “I mille fiumi più lunghi del mondo”. Two of the books, one with a red cover and one embroidered, are on presentation, along with two other volumes, never exhibited before, a book which gathers all research documents used by Boetti and Anne-Marie Sauzeau to complete their project, and the typewritten prototype of the printed book. Participating Artists: Omar Ba, Nigol Bezjian, Clemente Bicocchi, Stefano Boccalini, Alighiero Boetti, Benji Boyadgian, Jonathas de Andrade, Silvie Defraoui, Michel Favre, Noritoshi Hirakawa, Francesco Jodice, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Shin Il Kim, Alexander Kosolapov, Iseult Labote, Salomé Lamas, Marcello Maloberti, Andrea Marescalchi, Carlos Montani, Marcelo Moscheta, Stéphanie Nava, Luca Pancrazzi, Dan Perjovschi, George Pusenkoff, Shimabuku, Eduardo Srur, Barthélémy Toguo, Maria Tsagkari, Velu Viswanadhan, Gal Weinstein and Vasilis Zografos.
Info: Curator: Adelina von Fürstenberg, Venues: Île Rousseau, Quai des Bergues, Geneva, Duration 23/3-31/5/17, & Château de Penthes, 18 Chemin de l’Impératrice, Pregny-Chambésy, Geneva, Duration 23/3-2/7/17, Days & Hours: Tue-Sun 13:00-18:00, www.aqua-artfortheworld.net