Navajo Water Project
UE / 2021
Organized by The Chapter House
Water is Life. A rallying cry of Indigenous Peoples, and a plain and simple fact. But what exactly does it mean to come from water? In her poem Atlas, where this exhibition draws its title from, Terisa Siagatonu ponders the realities of being from Sāmoa, an island in the South Pacific, very often overlooked on maps, and that is victim to colonization, tourism, and American military imperialism. For Siagatonu, water is the place she is from, in part because it threatens to overtake what little land makes up Sāmoa, but also because the ocean’s vastness is easier to see than the island.
As water surrounds her homelands, how might water shape other places we are from? From the Navajo Nation to sub-Saharan Africa to California, water scarcity, the lack of running water, and drought make everyday tasks and health a challenge. On the other hand, abundance of water, like post-Hurricane Katrina or the Kiribati Islands threaten to swallow the very existence of a physical space. In both instances of too little or too much water, water structures our homes, physical and mental health, and lives.
In The Chapter House’s inaugural online exhibition but when you come from water, artists contributed works that consider water as a material, medium, inspiration, and something to fight for. This exhibition is specifically inspired by the work of Emma Robbins, The Chapter House’s Founder and Executive Director of the Navajo Water Project. but when you come from water explores interpretations of water in artistic form from artists from across the world. View website︎︎︎