THE WATER PROJECT 12 April – 22 June
Thanks to the generous support of Creative New Zealand.
Standing barefoot in a river, listening to the breathing of the land, we find ourselves connected to the life force running through the veins of our planet. What flows in these rivers, flows through us; an ancient source of life undeniably in need of a voice.
In March 2017, thirteen New Zealand artists were invited to explore the Canterbury region and create works of art which honoured, questioned and brought to light our intricate and – at times – troubled relationship with water. The selected artists represent diverse and vibrant cultural and artistic backgrounds and bring together work across mediums such as video installation, painting, printmaking and sculpture.
Beginning in Christchurch, the artists were initiated with a seminar day consisting of presentations by a varied group of iwi representatives, environmentalists, philosophers and scientists on water and its association with history, ecology and language.
The four day research trip which followed gave the artists the opportunity to encounter multiple sites and narratives and to map the experiences of local residents, iwi, and mana whenua through their connection to fresh water.
These shared experiences instilled a familial bond between the artists and set in motion the development of new works of art inspired by the conceptual, imaginative and physical qualities of water.
The Water Project brings together many voices, experiences and narratives relating to the freshwater systems of Aotearoa/New Zealand. Traversing multiple disciplines, the works reflect growing concerns for our aquatic world and together form a conversation free of any preconceived political or corporate standpoints. It is a generous offering born from a collective experience which summons us to consider the rivers and waters we all come from, and how we might go forward with care and wisdom.