Social art: fostering sustainable change for global water challenges

New York, Mar 24 (EFE).- Approximately 8,000 lacquered clay balls in various shades of blue created by 100 children from the Americas were fashioned into water droplets to form a wave. The art piece was unveiled Thursday in New York during parallel events at the United Nations Water Conference.

“Be the drop that shapes the wave” was the event’s slogan, organized by the FEMSA Foundation, which showcased the collective artwork led by artist Inma Barrero and announced an expansion of the Lazos de Agua program to provide water and sanitation to over one million people by 2030.

The clay work demonstrates how social art can inspire individuals to see themselves as agents of change, magnify their impact, and commit to a goal – in this instance, universal access to clean drinking water worldwide.

Some New York students who participated in the project reported increased awareness of water scarcity in Latin America, leading them to reduce their own water consumption.

Barrero, who invited attendees to touch the artwork, said that art is vital and enriching for humans because it opens our eyes and “makes us be connected to something more than ourselves.” Her vision is for the wave to become an ocean, engaging more people and communities in understanding water-related issues through “immersion in the world of ceramics with this piece.”

For the FEMSA Foundation, this project is “100% in our hearts,” stated Executive Director Lorena Guillé-Laris, who emphasized the Foundation’s institutional commitment to fostering prosperity in Latin America for present and future generations.

Guillé-Laris said the Lazos de Agua program, supported by the FEMSA Foundation, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the foundation One Drop, and the Coca-Cola Foundation, aims to promote sustainable behavior change through artistic expression.

Guillé-Laris noted that art’s power lies in its ability to act as a catalyst for dialogue and empower communities to express their needs, understanding, and hopes concerning “this sacred resource that is water.”

The six-year-old program has already provided water, sanitation, and hygiene to 225,000 people in rural communities across Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Paraguay. A new, more ambitious phase is now underway, with the goal of reaching one million people.

“This is a new commitment,” Guillé-Laris explained, adding that the design process for this new pledge will align with the UN’s 2030 sustainability objectives.

During the collective artwork presentation, Sergio Campos, head of the IDB’s Water and Sanitation division, signed an agreement with the Asian and African Development Banks to collaborate on a South-South dialogue, sharing experiences and methods to achieve universal access to clean drinking water.

Campos stated that the aim is to develop a roadmap for action, complete with projects, funding, information, structure, and methodology, to support countries in closing “the water gap of the rural sector.” EFE


(photo) (video)

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