Art has a powerful influence in terms of the visual communication of a message, and South African artists and galleries are increasingly aware of this role and use it to raise much-needed awareness of the environmental crisis facing us today.
Eco-awareness or “climate-change” art is on the rise in South Africa – following international trends – as our artists realise that they are uniquely placed to challenge assumptions and alert people to the consequences of climate change, rather than just leave the solutions to politicians, scientists and engineers. These exhibitions seek to raise awareness on a particular chosen topic related to environmental decay or climate change. One such art gallery that is following this emerging trend will soon be holding an exhibition aimed at bringing awareness to our water usage habits – our water footprint. Entitled Slow The Flow, this eco-exhibition is scheduled to take place at The Gallery in the town of Riebeek Kasteel in the Western Cape from 7 January to 4 February 2018. Slow The Flow is a group exhibition with its goal being to raise essential awareness of the water challenges being faced in the Western Cape and indeed in the whole of South Africa as global warming starts to make itself felt. “Experts anticipate lower average rainfall and long-term solutions, coupled with a change in attitudes and mindsets toward water use, need to be implemented,” says Astrid McLeod, owner and curator of The Gallery. McLeod believes that by focusing a fresh eye on problems, artists encourage people to rethink their behaviours.
Do you think about your water footprint?
Much is said about businesses and individuals measuring and monitoring their carbon footprint. The time has come where everyone needs to do the same for their water footprint. Everything we purchase and consume has a water footprint created during the production process of that item. Every household also has a water footprint as we run washing machines, dishwashers, showers, baths, fill up swimming pools and water our gardens. Measures can, and must, be taken to reduce this footprint. “Slow The Flow is also the name of a non-profit organisation based here in Riebeek Kasteel that is working towards changing behavioural patterns of people, promoting and implementing various measures and actions, and coordinating products and services which will help address and alleviate the water crisis in Southern Africa,” explains McLeod. “The Gallery is using the platform provided through an exhibition to draw attention to our current water crisis – a highly topical issue that is on the minds of many.” This exhibition promises to bring together exciting, creative and contemporary artworks that draw attention to the plight of our water future. For more information on Slow The Flow, visit www.galleryriebeek.co.za.