Thursday, March 17, 2022 | 10:00-11:30 a.m. ET

Water in a Shared World: Artist Perspectives (practice or action)

In Collaboration with Asia Society and the NYU Brademas Center

One Shared World presented a virtual panel discussion on Thursday, March 17, 2022, from 10:00-11:30 a.m. ET, as part of “Agents of Change in an Interdependent World,” an ongoing series of programs, cosponsored by OneShared.World, the Culture as Diplomacy Initiative of the Asia Society, and the John Brademas Center of New York University.

In advance of World Water Day, Water in a Shared World: Artist Perspectives (practice or action) featured four artists who have taken artistic practice and expression as a potent means to reach people across the globe. Each of them has interpreted the urgency of the water crisis today as the focus of a creative expression. The circumstances we are living in today require us to connect globally — to share and grapple with the pressing, emerging, threatening challenges that transcend borders. The panelists are deeply concerned about how artistic practice can build awareness and inspire further action.

Featured Speakers

Laetitia Delaunay Badolo

Senior Advocacy Officer, Niyel

Laetitia Delaunay Badolo is a Senior Advocacy Officer at Niyel, where she conducts initiatives to ensure access for everyone to human rights by influencing public policies and practices. She is currently leading a multi-year advocacy initiative that aims at strengthening political commitment and technical capacity on sanitation, ensuring continued demand for the implementation of inclusive sanitation policies and strategies. Niyel is an international advocacy and campaigns firm based in Dakar, Senegal. They work to promote public policies conducive to the development of all, and to influence practices to ensure that as citizens, individuals and communities, they understand the social, political and cultural issues related to our daily lives.

Bahar Behbahani

Painter, Collaborator, Educator, and Hospitable Instigator

Bahar Behbahani is a painter, collaborator, educator, and a hospitable instigator. She was born and raised in Iran and resides and works in New York. Behbahani’s multilayered work explores the complexities of memory, loss, adaptation and a fundamental search for a sense of place through plants and waterways. Her 2019 installation work at Wavehill, New York titled, “All Water has a Perfect Memory,” is a reference to the Mississippi River, and comes from a phrase in Toni Morrison’s essay The Site of Memory: “All water has a perfect memory and it is forever trying to get back to where it was.” The focal point of the installation is an octagonal pool mounted on plastic barrels, suggesting a floating raft to be used in the event of an emergency move to the river. Behbahani’s community oriented installation was featured in the Lahore Biennale in 2019 where her project I Can Drink Stars is a permanent installation in the City of Lahore, Pakistan.

Rachel Cooper (moderator)

Director, Culture as Diplomacy, Asia Society

Rachel Cooper (moderator) has extensive experience in traditional and contemporary Asian and Asian-American arts and the development of new interdisciplinary programs. She has presented or commissioned over 800 performances at the Asia Society and venues across the U.S. She works with international artists from Indonesia, Iran, Cambodia, India, Pakistan, Philippines, Japan, China, and Taiwan among others. She is a frequent participant at major conferences and a commentator in the media addressing international arts exchange and culture as diplomacy. Her passion is sharing artist voices with audiences broadly and to facilitate artist meetings at a global level. She co-directed the Muslim Voices Arts and Ideas Festival with BAM and Asia Society and Asia Society’s Creative Voices of Muslim Asia initiative and the Festival of Indonesian InPerformance.

Vibha Galhotra

Conceptual Artist

Vibha Galhotra is conceptual artist living in Delhi, India, whose multimedia oeuvre — including sculptures, installations, photographs, videos, site-specific work, and public art interventions — addresses the shifting topography of a world radically transformed by climate change, consumerism, capitalism, and globalization. Propelled by the constant negotiation between human beings and their ecosystem, Galhotra’s practice utilizes intensive research and intuitive imagination to investigate the social, economic, and political implications of human activity on the environment. She draws from varied disciplines, including the fine arts, ecology, economics, science, spirituality, and political activism to inform a poetic visual response to the environmental changes and restructuring of culture, society, and geography occurring in today’s world. Who Owns Water? is a project Vibha Galhotra initiated to address the state of Earth’s water. Her intention is to find new ways of narrating the stories around the water through poetry, food, nature walks, music, and other possible cultural forms.

Susie Ibarra

Composer, Percussionist, and Sound Artist

Susie Ibarra is a Filipinx composer, percussionist, and sound artist. Her interdisciplinary practice spans formats, including performance, mobile sound-mapping applications, multi-channel audio installations, recording, and documentary. Many of Ibarra’s projects are based in cultural and environmental preservation. Her sound research advocates for the stewardship of glaciers and freshwaters; Water Rhythms: Listening to Climate Change (2020) is a collaboration with glaciologist, geographer, and climate scientist Dr. Michele Koppes, which maps water rhythms from source to sink. Ibarra’s composition is derived from field recordings of five global watersheds, including the Greenland ice sheet and glacier-fed rivers of the Himalayas. Water Rhythms is an acoustic story of human entanglements with a changing climate and landscape.

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Photo of Boy carrying metal vessel of water by Gyan Shahane on Unsplash