The last week has been a deep and spirited search to investigate locations and communities to house Museum of Water’s Western Australian residence.
We’ve explored Central Park in the heat, watching city workers eat their lunch under the dappled light – and one man just hanging out with his pet magpie! We’ve met the passionate owner of the Orange Box, talking about the exhilarations of kitesurfing with other enthusiasts from Egypt and Italy. We’ve chatted with Terry from Leighton Surf Life Saving Club about welcoming new migrants to the beach and teaching them the ways of the waves.
What has struck me most about the way Amy Sharrocks and the rest of the team go about making the Museum of Water for WA is the utmost care that is expressed and exercised. It is with this care that the Museum receives the water and its accompanying stories, accounts and recollections – from all sources, all voices and all hearts.
There is a myriad of accounts of people’s connection with water – a resource we take for granted – and we’re trying to change that relationship. When you care about someone, you are attentive, you listen to them tell you how their day was, you listen to their stories and are an empathetic witness to their life. Listening and conversing can be generosity in motion.
Imagine if we treated water with that same attentiveness. The Museum is about taking stock of what is precious. Encouraging articulation of the personal relationship each one of us has with water and each other. I’ve heard Noel Nannup speak earlier this year of the noble relationship between totems and Noongar people, and the stories that connect one to country. I’ve read Geoff Mead’s (2011) words about how ‘the rejuvenation of oral culture is an ecological imperative’. And I wonder about the wetlands that have been drained for the building of Perth and Northbridge: ‘While many people are aware that global environments are facing unprecedented degradation, a deeper, more important issue is the ‘real human capacity to forget a disappeared environment’’. Saraswati, A. 2012
While we have access to water, let’s cherish it and celebrate it with stories, conversations and recollections of our relationship.
We invite you to bring your water in a vessel to the Museum during PIAF 2017 and beyond – where it will be received with care and generosity. So take some time to choose the water that means something to you. Allow yourself to travel along rivers and pipes, to puddles and bubbling springs, through fast flowing birthdays, break-up tears and happy tears. It’s up to you – and we look forward to seeing what you bring!
By Mei Saraswati, Museum of Water custodian
If you could keep one bottle of water – what would you keep?
To be part of a new Museum of Water for WA, bring your water in any container to the following locations across PIAF and tell us why you brought it.
Click here for more information on Museum of Water and a free program of pop-up events.