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Sara AHMED : Living Waters Museum (India)


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Towards a Global Network of Water Museums A Common Heritage for a Sustainable Future Palazzo Zorzi, Venice, Italy. 2-4 May 2017

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Sara AHMED : Living Waters Museum (India)

  1. 1. WATER MUSEUMS Global Network International Workshop, Venice 2 – 4 May 2017 In cooperation with Endorsed by
  2. 2. Sara Ahmed Lead Curator Living Waters Museum Sara Ahmed, Lead Curator
  3. 3. Content Part I : Living Water Museum • Objective • Our Story • Approach • Themes Part II : Water and SDG 6 • Art for Awareness • Art for Advocacy Part III : Global Network : Our Expectations • Next Steps • What would we like from the Network • What can we Contribute
  4. 4. Part – I Museum Description Hampi,2016,MonishaAhmed “Visualising Narratives on Histories, Cultures and Ecologies of Water”
  5. 5. “ To collect and collate rich and diverse traditions of water practices in India and build a repository of visualised knowledge, which can commemorate the past, inspire the present and be a source of learning for the future.” Objective PictureCredits:AmitTandon
  6. 6. Our Story • 2014: Discussions with water professionals, cultural historians, artists, anthropologists and architects on the need for a water museum in India (physical) • 2016: Concept note for a virtual water museum developed and shared widely for feedback • 2017: Accepted for incubating by WaterAid India and seed funding committed for one year • Begun to source and archive information on 100+ literature and web sources on various aspects of water and culture – images, music, digital maps, arts, film ….. PictureCredits:AmitTandon
  7. 7. Approach “. PictureCredits:AmitTandon • Virtual platform seeks to bring together technical experts, water professionals and the creative arts community • Interdisciplinary, collaborative approach – process as important as product • Raising awareness with youth, students, etc. on India’s innovative water traditions e.g. National Institute of Design (NID) photography students developing visual narratives on water in Gujarat from salt- pans to water parks to ship-breaking • Discussion with Centre for Imagination, Woodstock School, as a repository on Himalayan Waters (plus NGOs)
  8. 8. Architecture • Complex history of water, social space and access in India (gender, caste) • From elaborate stepwells to ponds and tanks, architecture has engaged with water to design communities, define livelihoods and mediate rituals across diverse faiths • Documenting this heritage through visual narratives, virtual reality tools, 3D modelling and GIS mapping • Understanding relevance of water innovations in the context of scarcity and climate resilience PictureCredits:AmitTandon
  9. 9. Baoli at Jaipur
  10. 10. Stepwell at Mehrauli, New Delhi
  11. 11. Rahet (waterwheel), Udaipur
  12. 12. Image Source : Black Water Vortex : Anish Kapoor, Kochi Biennale, 2015 . Art • Importance of water resources have been expressed in various art forms, from ancient sculpture to contemporary expressions around water • How can artistic facilitation through diverse media give voice to local communities? • Using art as a means to understand the care economy around water infrastructure and services (UK/Rajasthan)
  13. 13. Image Source: Basia Irland , Professor Emeritus, University of New Mexico, uses images transferred on local materials. e.g. sari silk, to explore water borne diseases and how they are transmitted. These screens are from her work in India
  14. 14. Image Source: Water Water : Navjot Altaf, 2005
  15. 15. Livelihood and Communities • Documenting cultural narratives and oral traditions of communities such as the Bhishtis, or water carriers, whose livelihoods are inextricably linked with water (found in Central Asia too) • From agriculture to aquaculture, from brewing local beer to running small businesses, water intersects with lives and livelihoods across different agroecologies • Climate variability, growing water demands and wastewater contamination affects health, access to education, food and nutrition (vulnerable women, girls) PictureCredits:AmitTandon
  16. 16. Fisherman, Goa PictureCredits:AmitTandon
  17. 17. Credit, Monisha Ahmed Boatwoman, Srinagar Oral histories, (Auto) Biographies • Creating digital archives of our unsung water heroes, leaders, innovators and activists – subaltern water histories
  18. 18. Folklore and Music • Wisdom on water manifested itself within local communities through folklore, folk music, songs and poetry • The museum aims to collate audio-visual resources and their contemporary forms for e.g. drumming circles on the Mutha River, Pune • Propose to work with a variety of musicians to create musical scores that resonate with the cultural meaning of water or highlight our troubled waters
  19. 19. “She wakes me in the early morning for grinding flour, At night I have to weave, She sends me to fetch water very early in the morning, Oh grandfather, life is very difficult for me. My pot has never filled up in the well, Water is so deep that my rope cannot reach, The sun rises and sets also, but Today I was unable to collect even a single pot of water.” (Folk song sung by Arvindbhai, Surendranagar, Gujarat) |Part II | Water and Sustainable Development Goal 6
  20. 20. Art for Awareness • Commissioning visual content with schools, academic institutes, etc. helps raise awareness on various issues around water sustainability, equity and justice.
  21. 21. Art as Advocacy • Using diverse media to facilitate a dialogue on water with different stakeholders – from the engineering community, development practice, history, culture, arts
  22. 22. | Part III | Global Network: Your expectations Sea of Pain, Raul Zurita, Kochi Biennale 2016
  23. 23. Next Steps • Decide upon institutional framework (non-profit, partnership) • Determine legal issues surrounding virtual content (Creative Commons) • Curate website (virtual, multi-media) • Launch planned for late November 2017, link with social media • Plan fund-raising strategy (CSR / PPP / public and private sector) • Develop strategy for virtual platform to interact with physical space – in schools, public places (pop-up exhibitions, augmented reality walks) • Long term goal – to develop eco-entrepreneurship (eco-tourism) opportunities for youth around water heritage, care economy (gender)
  24. 24. What can we Contribute to the Network • Young, emerging museum, flexible, responsive to SDGs • Curate cross-cultural and cross border e-exhibitions on common themes, e.g. water rituals and artefacts, water cultures and practices (e.g. International Museum on Women – music, film and digital content) • Extend online knowledge repository to partners • Develop e-network reaching out to the water world – Global Water Partnership, World Water Council, and use global platforms to highlight relevance of water museums
  25. 25. Credit: Raghu Rai, Srinagar Thank You
  26. 26. Thank you