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Art Exhibition Tackles Canterbury’s Fresh Water Issues

An award-winning exhibition of artworks examining Canterbury’s complex relationship with water is on now at Canterbury Museum.

Curated by Ashburton Art Gallery Manager/Curator Shirin Khosraviani, The Water Project features 37 works by 13 New Zealand artists themed around water issues in Canterbury and wider New Zealand.

In 2017, Ashburton Art Gallery invited the artists to spend a week travelling through rural Canterbury. In discussions with local community members, they learned about the significance of fresh water to the region and the issues facing lakes, rivers and other waterways.

Khosraviani then challenged the artists to create art which honoured, questioned and highlighted the community’s relationship with water. The works they produced in response were first displayed at Ashburton Art Gallery in 2018 as The Water Project.

The Water Project includes art by: Peter Trevelyan, Jenna Packer, Phil Dadson, Dani Terrizzi, Ross Hemera, Jacqui Colley, Euan Macleod, Brett Graham, Elizabeth Thomson, Bing Dawe, Greg O’Brien, Kate Woods and Bruce Foster.

Their works span a variety of mediums including painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking and video art.

Khosraviani says The Water Project has been a collaboration between Ashburton Art Gallery and the 13 artists since its inception.

“It has been our most significant undertaking to date and we are thrilled to see it shown at Canterbury Museum, an organisation which celebrates history, science and our collective identity,” she says.

The Water Project is an exhibition that has inspired conversation, consultation and action from those who encounter it and continues to spark the imagination.”

Canterbury Museum Director Anthony Wright hopes the exhibition provides an opportunity for Cantabrians to consider their own relationship with water.

“Fresh water is very much a hot topic in Canterbury at present, and we hope this exhibition provokes reflection and discussion among our visitors,” he says.

The Water Project was shortlisted as a finalist in the 2018 Cawthron Foundation New Zealand River Story Awards, the first art exhibition to reach the finals.

The Water Project is curated and toured by Ashburton Art Gallery. It’s on at Canterbury Museum until 10 November 2019.

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