SCROLLS

 

“How can such a lovely person change the world? Only through the power of her concern about the planet. At the opening she thanked everyone and then reminded us all that someone dies every 8 seconds from a preventable water borne illness.”

Susan Platt, writer, art historian

 

“There's hardly a river, stream, or brook that isn't contaminated with the runoff from human misuse, whether industrial effluents, agricultural pesticides and herbicides, or worse. (The 'worse' could be bacterial contamination – the river as disease vector – ...)”

Marq de Villiers, Canadian writer, Water

 

This ongoing global series of scrolls explores waterborne diseases whose transmission occurs when people drink contaminated water, or submerge themselves in water for bathing, swimming, ceremonial or religious purposes. Scrolls completed while in India are made using sari silk, partially because water can be strained through this fabric to reduce the number of organisms that cause infections. In the case of Walkerton, Ontario, Canada, I transferred images of Escherichia coli and Campylobacter jejeuni onto local hospital bed sheets. The Schistosomiasis scrolls created in Ethiopia, Egypt and Nepal use hand-woven material bought at local markets. The scrolls roll up to fit into their own carrying cases with shoulder straps. I also have been working with traditional musicians in local communities to spread the word about how to prevent contracting waterborne diseases. These educational songs are sung in the local language and are a rhythmic way to educate the general public. For additional information, see the video Bilharzia Blues: An Integrated Artistic/Biological Approach to Schistosomiasis in Egypt, Ethiopia and Nepal.

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Exhibition at Harwood Art Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Exhibition at the Albuquerque Museum in New Mexico.

The Drop exhibit at Exit Art, NY.

Natural Resources Defense Council scientists estimate that every year approximately seven million Americans become sick from contaminated tap water, which sometimes proves lethal. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), lack of clean water accounts for eighty percent of all diseases in poor nations. Two-thirds of the world's householders must carry their water from outside the home. One in five people in the world do not have clean water. WHOs Fact Sheet 112 notes: “Every eight seconds a child dies from a water-related disease,” A BBC reporter phrased it this way: “The number of deaths due to water-related disease is the same as twenty jumbo jets crashing each day.”

 

For more extensive writings on The Terrible Beauty of Waterborne Micro-Pathogens, see chapter six “Polluted Waters” in Irland's book Water Library.

 

Select Scrolls are available for purchase. Please contact for additional information.

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