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We’ve got a freshwater crisis on our hands. Water in the 21st century is still seen as a bringer of life and an ancestral voice, but it’s also a contested commodity and a saleable resource, and New Zealand is starting to reach the limits of water usage.

Artists/curators Gregory O’Brien and Bruce Foster have worked with a group of NZ artists to explore their insights into our rivers, lakes and wetlands. This project flows out of an exhibition developed last year by Ashburton Art Gallery and features many new works, some relating specifically to the Southern Lakes. Ngai Tahu artist Ross Hemera provides the anchor installation piece, and other artists include Bing Dawe, Jenna Packer, Euan Macleod and Elizabeth Thomson. We are also adding Campbell Burns’ wonderfully interactive Water Table.

Visual artists across New Zealand are deeply engaged in conversations centered on the environmental concerns facing our communities. As makers, problem solvers, storytellers, philosophers and activists, artists can make meaningful and lasting connections, bringing together people and the issues that concern them.

We will also host an Aspiring Conversation between artist and poet Greg O’Brien, Ngai Tahu kaumatua Sir Tipene O’Regan and leading NZ water scientist Mike Joy.