Perth hosts Museum of Water display

Posted 15 March 2018

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In a bid to raise awareness of the integral role water plays in people’s lives, UK artist Amy Sharrock has created her very own Museum of Water, as part of the Perth International Arts Festival. 

Sharrock put out a request to Western Australian citizens to offer up any kind of water that has meaning in their lives and, thus far, about 320 samples are currently on display with descriptions. 

Sharrock told ABC Online that the motivation for this artwork was to highlight how big a role water plays in day-to-day lives, with the hope of expanding appreciation for this fundamental resource. 

"It's the most essential thing. We can't live without it for any length of time," she said.

"It's a metaphor that we use for thinking all the time. We say, 'my ideas have dried up', or we can be 'flooded with emotion'. We claim a connection to water every day, but we also throw it away, step on it, flush it, protect ourselves against it.

"I wanted to just ask people to think a bit more clearly about it."

With bottled-water samples ranging from toothpaste spit, swimming pool water and bottled tears, Sharrock said the range of water on display expresses the depth of intimacy we have with it.

"We have water from the Canning Dam, water from a sprinkler, from a young girl who said that she wanted fast water so she ran around after the sprinkler trying to catch it,” she said. 

"Some stories are incredibly sad and heartbreaking and some are hilarious. We have so many detailed, intimate moments of people's lives that they have shared with us."

Sharrock said she hopes the artwork, which is on display at the Fremantle Arts Centre until 23 March, encourages people to think more about the water they engage with and realise its importance, particularly in future. 

"We are facing a drier future. Cape Town is heading towards day zero. That kind of vulnerability of existence here and around the world is a terrifying prospect which we are all facing,” she said. 

"It felt very timely to ask people what they thought about water, to reconsider how much we need water. This is a love letter to water."