By Artist-in-Residence Amy Sharrocks
And so we begin.
Museum of Water opened in WA with two busy, beautiful days at Cottesloe Beach as part of PIAF 2017.
After extraordinary storms the prior week, and then a burst water main in Cottesloe to kick us off on the Saturday ('the first in the 65 years I've lived here!' said one resident), we weren't quite sure how things might go. But from the very first moment, it was clear it was going to be special.
Dr Richard Walley introduced us to the land and the water here, reminding us how nature shapes our contours, sharing Noongar water words so we could roll them around our mouths and repeat them back to the land; ouardun – ocean, gehp – water, bilia – river. He talked of the abundance of water here, the many water holes and the life around each one. ‘Water holes are the epicentre of social cohesion and harmony’, he said. He urged us to take nothing for granted.
The bottles started arriving from the moment we opened; the koi pond water from John Curtin University from the forensics specialist who told us about the three levels of detail in a fingerprint, reminding us all to look more closely; the seawater wrung from the hair of two long-haired friends after a swim, on their first day together after years apart travelling in different countries; water from the sunset swim of two lovers, a story that was told to me as the sun went down into the sea between them; the melted ice from a water chemist whose fridge had broken last week, and whose family had struggled through bags of ice to try to preserve some of the foodstuffs. She talked of Perth’s urban difficulties of replenishing stocks of water for us all – questions of aquifers, sewage and recycling.
But our first bottle of the day came from Fireman Luke Frazer-James, just rushing off to a job – the water that keeps him and the crew going all day.
Thank you for a great start to Museum of Water.
I hope to see you over the coming days in Albany!