Engaging in issues of water scarcity and ecological emergency, artist/photographer Aida Muluneh presents, with support from the H&M Foundation, a new series of 12 work commissioned by Wateraid. Exploring ideas of representation , gender and social justice through an Afrofuturist tableaux of twelve, large-scale images shot in Ethiopia, the powerful work builds on Somerset House’s ongoing strand of environmental themed programming.
The project emerged from a dialogue about the role of art in advocacy, the issues of water and sanitation and how Africa is represented by aid organizations and in global media.This autumnal exhibition follows a previous show “Water Life” that is actually displaying at David Krut Projects‘s space in New York until June 14th 2019. Half of all gallery sales will benefit WaterAid.
“My main goal in building this collection is to address the issues caused by a lack of access to water, and the impact which that has not only on a society as a whole, but on women, particularly in rural regions. For those of us who live in cities, it’s easy to take for granted the privilege of access to water – while those living beyond the city grid often encounter challenges that not only impact their health, but also their ability to contribute to the development of their communities.
Each piece addresses the impact of water access as it relates to issues like women’s liberation, health, sanitation and education. While travelling across Ethiopia for my work, I often encounter streams of women traveling on foot and carrying heavy burdens of water. I have understood that women spend a great deal of time fetching water for the household, which has an adverse effect on the progress of women in our society. We cannot refute that it is mainly women who bear responsibility for collecting water, a burden that has great consequences for our future and the development of our nation.
Hence, supporting access to water in rural regions in Africa is an urgent social issue, as well as an essential determining factor in the self-sustainability of a community. I have chosen to create a few of these pieces in Dallol, Afar, Ethiopia – an extreme landscape that places emphasis on the message I am transmitting. The world is continually bombarded with images of the social plight of Africa; therefore my focus in this project was to address these topics without the cliché that we see in mainstream media. In a sense, to advocate through art.” – Aida Muluneh, Addis Ababa