It was great to see the above exhibition that so eloquently brought home to us what has been happening to our rivers.
AQUA VITAE: Claire Earlie Maxwell ( Shown Aigantigne Gallery 2 Jul 2011 – Wed 10 Aug 2011 and Forester Gallery 13 August – 25 September 2011)
Claire Earlie Maxwell says “Acqua Vitae presents South Island coastal rivers as women whose waters sustain a nation. Beside each work is a jug of water taken from the river represented. The viewer is invited to look at the image and then at the water from the river it represents. The unappetizing brew helps the artist to stir up the debate of river pollution and what needs to be done about it.
On one side of the argument are agribusiness and hydro-electric generation companies for whom the water is liquid gold. On the other side are naturalists, fishing communities and those who are passionate about our beautiful landscape and are keen to keep the rivers flowing strongly with little or no pollution. Both groups are having difficulties in coming to terms with each others’ viewpoint. There is no doubt, however, that without
some kind of intervention, our New Zealand rivers are in jeopardy.
My view is that the rivers belong to and are in the care of the nation. If awareness can be raised on the plight of our rivers, then it is up to us as New Zealanders to make the rules about how rivers are to be managed.
We must think like a river. Only then will we be able to look after ourselves and our rivers properly.
To this end, each river artwork in this exhibition is represented by a woman. The woman is the river.
Go speak to her and see how you can help her to survive.
Drink her water, if you dare!”