For as long as I can remember, the concept of accessing water has seemed as simple and natural as breathing air. It’s remarkable I can testify that in my whole life, I’ve never turned a water faucet to find empty results. A stream has always flowed forth from the source. It is in this body of work that I explore the majority of the world’s relationship with water–a relationship that is far different from yours and mine. I seek to represent those whose lives are critically dependent upon and deeply impacted by water. Those who travel long distances to wells, to watersheds, to rivers and streams. Those who walk miles through arid prairies, plains, and deserts. Those who sacrifice an education to retrieve it. Those who sacrifice a career–an opportunity for prosperity–to retreive it. Those who schedule and plan almost every detail of their day around this one substance.
This series, in oil, reflects how people need water to thrive. Collectively, these paintings demonstrate water’s ripple effect in almost every facet and process of human life. Most of us think about the water crisis in very literal terms. Dry wells. Dirty rivers. Drought. Thirst.
Of course such conditions are the immediate and most obvious consequences of the water crisis. Yet I hope to show that the reality is this–and so much more. Water may determine whether or not a girl attends school. Water impacts maternal and infant mortality rates. Water sustains or destroys a community’s physical health. This element is poised to drastically shape economic security, political stability, and social equity. For this body of work, I did not paint from personal experience or travels but from images I gathered through other sources. The children represented in this body of work may be unfamiliar to me, but I can assuredly confess that their faces, and more importantly, the ideas they stand for, could never be unfamiliar. I have spent countless hours refining one eye, the balance of lips, the tilt of a head, or the spread of tiny fingers. I’ve come to know every face in this collection. And I know that these children, wherever they are right now, are critically dependent on the substance of life: water. With improved access to water these children can, and certainly will, thrive.
Find out more at her website: http://carolineorr.net