AQUA – Art to draw attention to the uneven distribution of water

Article, 22.03.2017

Switzerland is supporting the travelling exhibition AQUA, which will open to the public in Geneva on 22 March on the occasion of World Water Day. AQUA is a project by ART for The World, an NGO that links up contemporary art, human rights and sustainable development. At AQUA, thirty contemporary artists from across the world will seek to show through their works that water is a shared responsibility.

The words Pubblica, Privata are affixed in steel letters to a weir across the river.
The permanent installation by Stefano Boccalini in Temù, Italy, titled Publica Privata, questions whether water is a public or a private good. ©The artists and Art for The World

Water is a prerequisite for any kind of life and it is indispensable for agriculture and industry. Access to clean water and sanitation facilities is a human right and crucial for human dignity, health and productivity. And yet, access to clean drinking water is not available to over 3.5 billion people globally, while an estimated 2.4 billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation facilities. 

The SDC has been active in the water sector for over three decades. Water is a resource with uneven geographical distribution that has become a critical element for peace, political stability and poverty eradication. By supporting the AQUA exhibition, the SDC is promoting art and culture as a key medium for engaging with sustainable development in the water sector.

Interview with the curator of AQUA

Close-up shot of Adelina von Fürstenberg © Art for The World
Adelina von Fürstenberg © Art for The World

Adeline von Fürstenberg, founder and president of ART for The World and curator of AQUA, speaks about the exhibition: 

How did the idea for the AQUA exhibition originate?

AQUA is part of ART for The World’s ‘Interpreting Sustainability’ programme.

The aim is to link up contemporary art, human rights and sustainable development. In that context and following on from the International Decade for Action ‘Water for Life’ 2005-2015, we conceptualised an exhibition on the significance of water for humans, animals and plants. AQUA is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially Goal 6 (Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all) and Goal 15 (Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems).

Artworks by 32 contemporary artists from Switzerland and other countries draw attention to issues pertaining to the environment, biodiversity, ecosystems, climate change and the protection of water as a source of life.