It’s World Water Day! Established in 1993, the day was created to advocate for universal access to clean water, and inspire communities to take action to make a difference. Clean water is a basic human right, and yet thousands of individuals across the planet are still subject to perilous diseases caused by unsanitary water sources.
We therefore, do what we do best and asked our artist, Lucia Palmisano to tell us what water means to her in both a visual and verbal vocabulary.
"It is this smell of damp earth that transports me back to my childhood."
Artupia: We’re surrounded by a mainly water-based amniotic fluid from the very beginning of our lives, water is our life-source and it permits us to grow into sensient and intelligent beings. What is your favourite water-based memory?
LP: My favourite memory of water is petrichor; that unique, earthy smell of summer rain. It’s a particular rain that refreshes and covers dry terrain in magical, aromatic molecules. It is this smell of damp earth that transports me back to my childhood.
"My favourite thing to depict is the myriad of shades."
Artupia: I can almost hear the movement of the waves and smell the gently-salted air in your works. Why do you choose to portray the sea in particular?
LP: The sea is one of those places that brings me back to my childhood and roots. My paintings depict the sea and its intoxicating scent because I'm from Puglia, so it’s ingrained in my being. Not only is it a captivating, enchanting and deeply personal subject, but my favourite thing to depict is the myriad of shades. I chose to portray them in this way in order to capture both the calming sound and solitary silence that washes over you. Although my creative process is meticulous, I am careful to respect the profound meaning of my pieces.
"We are all but little drops that form an ocean."
Artupia: World Water Day isn’t just a celebration of this vital source, but a very necessary measure to raise awareness for the extreme shortages many communities around the world face when it comes to accessing clean water. What do you do to save water?
LP: It’s necessary to start small, learn how to conserve from small, daily, environmentally-friendly gestures in a way that allows for a consistent and long-term mindset towards consumption. For example, turn the taps off when you brush your teeth, have a shower instead of a bath, reuse the water you wash your vegetables with to water the garden, collect rainwater or water from air conditioning units and reuse for non-drinking purposes. It’s through lots of small actions that we can help the environment! After all, “We are all but little drops that form an ocean” and since we’re so connected to the earth, surely by not respecting it we don’t respect ourselves?
"Water has inspired painters since antiquity, where it was and is considered an essential element for life."
Artupia: What is the relationship between water and painting for you?
LP: Water has inspired painters since antiquity, where it was and is considered an essential element for life. Even by just revisiting ancient artworks where the Nile was portrayed as a fertility-restoring source, or depictions of Aphrodite’s birth amidst the sea’s foam, you can see the long relationship between water and art. Then, with the Renaissance, Botticelli painted the Birth of Venus, again to demonstrate water’s link to life. This continued into Impressionism, with Monet’s Impression Soleil Levant, where his revolutionary depiction of light encapsulates the scene. This fascination with water continues today!