Shared water, contested water was inspired by issues of climate change and contested water in the Middle East’s ‘Garden of Eden’. Earth as recorder, kiln as creator, clay provides a historical link between human and nature - between the paleoclimate archive and the future demand for water. My first sculptural object was a response to the geographical location of the Al-Hammar Marshes in southern Iraq, the lands between two rivers - the Euphrates and the Tigris.
Shared water refers to integrated river basin management as the best approach to conserving the world’s freshwater resources through managing river basins sustainably, contested water to the geo-political issues preventing this in the region. I’m always wary of the dangers of framing a situation with my own perspective (an outsider, looking in, so to speak), so the opportunity to work directly with the clay samples, collected by Nawrast Sabah Abd Alwahab, helped to negate this by providing deeper connections to the material, its custodians and its origin.
Shared water, contested water was part of the Archive and Contested Landscape exhibition in conjunction with the Cambridge Festival of Ideas, 2018.