ART TO THE RESCUE OF THE PLANET
(Note: The art installation Be the Drop that Shapes the Wave was presented for the first time during a UN 2023 Water Conference special event hosted by Femsa Foundation – Scroll to the end of the post to watch the making Be the Drop that Shapes the Wave.The play LOVE authored and directed by Alexander Zeldin was performed at the Park Armory in New York in from in February and March 2023.)
Somewhere among the routine schedule of meetings, the policy papers, and tightly scripted speeches of besuited officials gathering at the 2023 UN Conference on Water, one presentation stands apart.
A vast dynamic piece of art proposes raising awareness about the urgent water situation in Latin America. Composed of 8,000 ceramic beads, each representing a drop of water, it is the imagined work of New York-based artist Inma Barrero and more than 100 entrepreneurs, leaders of corporations and governmental agencies, artists, activists, and children.
Its name is inspiring: Be the Drop that Shapes the Wave. Its reason for being, however, is frightening.
Over 2 billion people worldwide cannot access safe drinking water or sanitation. During the pandemic, many could not even wash their hands. Until and unless decision-makers act on the critical need to make safe water available for all, the situation will only worsen as the global population grows exponentially. This United Nations meeting in New York City was long overdue.
In Latin America alone, the water shortage affects seven out of ten people, according to the local not-for-profit Lazos de Agua program. That represents 160 million people—that is the populations of Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, and Peru combined!
To face this challenge, an artwork co-created by a well-known artist and dozens of people spread out in 15 countries, including children from public schools in Manhattan and the Lycée Français de New York, might seem, at best, decorative.
Or is it?
Listen to the Women and Girls of Iran
It was gigantic and staring at me. Everyone around seemed as mesmerized by it as I was: an eye, wide open. It was staring at the sky, too, and it covered most of the steps of Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park at the far end of the oblong Roosevelt Island on the East River, an unlikely urban cable car stop away from Manhattan. In the background, lurking in the shadows, stood the 39-story United Nations building, proud and self-confident.
In that park, at the bottom of the steps that morning of November 28, 2022, every spoken word and every single stare were targeted at the United Nations, at the United Nations and Iran.
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Hosts of species long departed
Marked the mastodon,
The dinosaur, who left dried tokens
Of their sojourn here
The Shadow Pandemic:
Domestic Violence and COVID-19
In the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic, a more private war is worsening in some homes. While most of the world is asked to stay confined to save lives, others are hurt and victims of abusive, sometimes dangerous partners. Where women are isolated at homes, reports show an increase of more than 30% of domestic violence against them.
The Chairman and CEO of Kering, François-Henri Pinault, had already rung the alarm bell in New York last December at the annual Voices of Solidarity gala where he was being honored for the visionary work of his foundation to combat this invisible plight: “Gender-based violence is so universal, so extreme and so devastating that we must call it what it really is: an emergency.”
In these unprecedented times of isolation, the Kering Foundation has not only made emergency donations to its partner NGOs but has also launched a social media campaign in the United States, France, the UK and Italy to help survivors seek aid and make accessible support more visible: #YouAreNotAlone.