Student Arts-based Competition on the theme of water
July 26, 2016
Water nourishes the body and the mind. Yet an estimated 80 percent of the world’s population face a high-level water security or water-related biodiversity risk. Water security is also a serious issue in Canada, with more than 2000 ‘boil water’ advisories across the country, notably in First Nations communities.
During September 2013’s University-Based Institutes for Advanced Study (UBIAS) conference, the Peter Wall Institute was honoured to celebrate the winners of its UBC student competition on “Arts-Based Conceptions of Water.”
The competition was part of a UBIAS public panel discussion on the need for cross-disciplinary strategies to deal with the global, financial, ecological and societal issues relating to water. At an evening performance, awardees shared paintings, a documentary, audio-visual pieces and poetry– all inspired by the theme of water.
Yoriko Gillard, MA student in Art Education at the UBC Faculty of Education, won top honours for her interactive sculpture and accompanying poem, inspired by the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. Gillard’s poem follows:
During the evening performance, several other UBC art students received honourable mentions, including School of Music PhD candidate Kevin Mason for his work on the short video, PA GEN DLO.
PA GEN DLO was created by Mason after spending five weeks in Haiti in the summer of 2013, working alongside traditional musicians on a new video archive for the National Bureau of Ethnology in Port-au-Prince.
By utilizing scenes of both scarcity and abundance, the video depicts the deep spiritual connection Haitians have with water. The piece captures how instances of insecurity inform daily discourses of lament, which manifest in the phrase “pa gen dlo,” meaning “there’s no water”.