Thirst World Countries

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Global water crisis, art

A pencil & watercolour painting from 2008, part of a series of paintings ‘Timeless Waters to Waterless Times’ I made on the subject of the global water crisis. An issue that has only grown more urgent as the years have rolled by.

“Long seen as a problem of only the poorest, the water crisis is increasingly affecting the wealthier nations, economic riches being no insurance against it. The management of water distribution will determine power relations, economic development, the relationship between rich and poor, and the destiny of countries and whole continents.” – World Water Federation Report

In Thirst World Countries a twig with 18 leaves stretches across a bleak background. A glass stands half full, leaving the leaves to wilt one after another. The leaves represent 18 countries which according to the Water Poverty Index released by the British Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, will be first ones impacted by the imminent water crisis. The grayscale shades on the glass hinting that the much taken-for-granted glass of water might one day become a thing of the past.

Nature is a leveller like no other. More so when we mess with Her. Entire countries lining up for a glass of water may seem far-fetched, but that’s the cliff we are racing toward if we don’t acknowledge just how important it is to our own survival to respect nature. Being economically ‘well-off’ or powerful is only temporary defence, if at all, against a water crisis. Sooner or later, the so-called ‘first-world’ countries will have to get in line just as the so-called ‘third-world’ countries, and being ahead in the queue will not bring much solace. 

From left to right the countries depicted are the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russian Federation, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Paraguay. My attempted accuracy and the technicalities aside, the overarching point is that we’re all in this together.

The picture may be bleak, but the glass – somehow – is still half full. Here’s hoping we give ourselves more reason for optimism in the years to come. 

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