As an artist, why is it important to use your platform to advocate for the environment?
For some people, accepting the world the way that it is is not enough. When faced with that knowledge, you still have to live your life somehow to exist within these confines, hoping to not go bashing into the walls too much. But life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact… and that is: everything around you has been made up by people that were no smarter than you or I. It is about shaking off this erroneous notion that life is just there and you are just going to live in it; versus the potential to embrace it, to change it, to improve it and make your mark upon it with your time here.
Once you learn that, the world for you will never be the same again. For me, using my work to further explore the natural world in a complementary and non invasive way, I hope to engage in the viewer with the need for a spiritual reawakening with nature.
My practice has always been driven by my interest in field observation and scientific discovery, with a prominence in exploring the liquid mechanics of water. Back in 1990, I stated that ‘water is the new oil’ and, as the years have gone by, that belief and public statement has become a firm reality. As in the past we fought battles over access to oil, soon those same wars will erupt over access to clean water. This, the great fate of humanity, consumes my thoughts daily. Continuing to explore its environmental signature is a conversation that I have made a lifelong commitment to: that of unencumbered fresh water to all living species and clean oceans that enable their vital ecosystems to thrive.
In tribal Tuareg culture, it is forbidden for a family with children to camp any closer than 5 kilometres from water, lest their children take water for granted. The modern world is losing these connections with the natural world a little more every day. Therefore, I believe it is my role is to make the concerns of art relevant to society at large, a crucial means for turning thinking into doing in the world. I believe it is important to not be limited by the architectural confines of the art world; instead my practice engages with the broader public sphere through interventions within natural landscapes and civic spaces alike, arts education, policy-making, issues of sustainability and ecocide.