Water scarcity is an important issue today in Kansas, the Great Plains
and beyond, and it is being investigated by state governments and many
scientists. Because their discussion is largely in the language of
science and speaks of quantifiable evidence and data, the significance
of the problem is often unclear to the lay public. That is where art
“Drift and Drag: Reflections on Water,” to run Jan. 16 to March 14,
2015, at the Mulvane Art Museum, will present to works of 14 artists
illuminating these water issues from a humanities perspective,
addressing the practical, spiritual, historical, philosophical and
political import of this essential resource.
The exhibition will include an installation, a dance, an interactive
game, photographs, videos and a community engagement project. These
presentations will increase awareness and understanding of the many
meanings of water. According to curator Julie Myers, “The Mulvane is
delighted to present this exhibition and its related events at a time
when water is so much on the minds of Kansans.”
Related events are:
Tuesday, Jan. 20, 6 p.m.: Screening of the film “Tambien La
Lluvia” [“Even the Rain”]. The movie is a fictional account of an
American film crew in Bolivia that is making a film about the Spanish
Conquest. By hiring Cochabamba Indians as extras, the Americans become
involved in the Cochabambas’ battle against a multinational water
company, which is charging exorbitant prices for a resource that the
indigenous peoples feel should belong to all. (eventherainmovie.com/synopsis)
Thursday, Jan. 29, 4 p.m.: Kansas Day speaker Julene Blair,
author of “The Ogallala Road,” will discuss“Our Fateful Journey Down the
Ogallala Road.” The lecture will be followed by a reception and
book-signing. Books will be available at the Mulvane Art Museum gift
shop. This event is sponsored by the Center for Kansas Studies. www.julenebair.com
Wednesday, Feb. 4, 4 p.m.: Artist’s Talk by Marguerite Perret,
associate professor of art, Washburn University. Perret is the curator
of “Drift and Drag.” The exhibition also includes two works by Perret in
collaboration with other artists (see below).
Friday, Feb. 6, 5:30-7:30 p.m.: Reception during Topeka’s First
Friday ArtWalk. During the reception, Ellie Goudie-Averill will present
her dance performance “Ladies of the Lake.”
Friday, Feb. 20, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.: A symposium on Kansas water
issues will bring together scientists and artists in a series of
lectures and panel discussions to explore the significance of water in
human life. Keynote speaker will be Rex Buchanan, interim director of
the Kansas Geological Survey. Other participants will be announced later.
March 6, 6 p.m.: Screening of the film “The Cherokee Word for
Water,” which tells the true story of the struggle of Cherokee Indians
in Oklahoma to bring clean running water to their community. While
building a twenty mile waterline, they reawakened the traditional
concept of “gadugi,” that is working together to solve a problem. This
proved to be inspirational to others in Indian country, starting a new
self-help movement. www.cw4w.com/synopsis
All events are at the Mulvane Art Museum and are free and open to the
Artist projects represented in this exhibition:
Marin Abell: A video outlining the research behind the in-progress
project “H.M.S. Hydra,” which explores how Eurasian Milfoil, an invasive
aquatic plant species is threatening the health of Lake Shawnee and
other lakes across the country.
Reuben Aaronson and Steven Lerner: A film “When the Well Runs
Dry” documents the conflict over water rights in Florence, Marion
Michelle Casey: “Geo-mapping the Deep Time Waters of Kansas,” an
audio slide show that treats the deep time history of water in Kansas
and the similarities between the Permian extinction, when 95 percent of
all life was extinguished, and current climate change.
Teresita Gonzáles: “Basurita” (Little Trash) is a short video
that documents water pollution in the Blue Lake of Ypacarai, Paraguay’s
once iconic lake, which is located a few miles from the capital city
Ellie Goudie-Averill and Natasha Taylor: “Ladies of the Lakes:
Sirens of Climate Change” is a movement and sound-based project
exploring the embodied nature of our lakes and waterways. Produced and
commissioned by Marguerite Perret and Bruce Scherting.
Basia Irland: Water films, seven short documentaries on rivers.
Robin Lasser and Marguerite Perret: The “Pure Dirty Water” video
describes the purification process at a wastewater treatment plant in
Snowmass, Colorado. Gregorian-style chant serves as the sound track. http://puredirtywater.weebly.com/index.html
Dave Loewenstein: “Water is Political” will engage Washburn
students in the politics of water in Kansas. This will result in a
Felicia Mitchell: “Water is Life” treats the 30-year water rights
struggle of the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas.
Marguerite Perret and Bruce Scherting: A multimedia project,
“Washed Up: From the Permian Sea to Interior Port” explores the role of
water in the Great Plains through deep time history into our current era
and beyond. Contributions from WU students Maddie Shrock and Shawn Rooks.
Emmy Rice: “Making Waves” is a motion interactive project in
which visitors can create water ripples on the screen triggered by a
touch sensor. The generated images are then recorded and indexed.
Larry Schwarm: “Kansas Land Use,” photos commissioned by the
Biofuels and Climate Change: Farmers’ Land Use Decisions research
project at KU and K-State. (One of his photos is pictured here.)
Sarah Smarsh: Interviews with farmers and ranchers who are
addressing the impact that water availability has on their lives.
Elizabeth Stevenson and Kent Thomas Williams: A video, “An
Amateur’s Rain Dance while Swimming,” explores the history of Waconda
Springs in Mitchell County, Kansas. A site sacred to both the Pawnee and
Kanza tribes, it later became a heath resort.
This program is funded in part by the Kansas Humanities Council, a
non-profit cultural organization promoting understanding of the history,
traditions and ideas that shape our lives and build community.
The Mulvane is located on the campus of Washburn University, at 17th and
Jewell Streets. Free parking is available directly to the west of the
museum. The Mulvane Art Museum, ArtLab and gift shop are open 10 a.m. to
7 p.m. Tuesday; 10 a.m.to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; and 1 to 4
p.m. Saturday. Admission is free. The museum will closed Dec. 24 through
Jan. 5, 2014 and is closed most major holidays.
For more information, check washburn.edu/mulvane
or contact Julie Myers at email@example.com
or 785.670.2425. Questions about the Kansas Day speaker can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.