Dying for clean water
A remarkable exhibition charting the everyday struggle for water in an African country has gone on display at BALTIC in Gateshead. The ‘Water is Life’ exhibition aims to highlight the plight of people living in Malawi, which shares the fate of many third world nations plagued by water-related diseases through lack of sanitation.
The exhibition is a result of a fact-finding mission to the poverty-ravaged country earlier this year, which was organised by Northumbrian Water on behalf of its adopted charity WaterAid. Powerful photography by Gateshead resident Jayne Emsley who works for The Journal newspaper and a film by BBC TV reporter Mark Batey from Newcastle are featured in the exhibition, which depicts the struggle for survival which the people of Malawi currently face. Children are also being encouraged to take part in a fairground-style game called ‘poop-la’ where ceramic toilet bowls are the targets. Contestants earn points by throwing soft plastic poos into the bowls. If the poo reaches its target, a message to hammer home the importance of clean sanitation appears.
Alistair Baker, an organiser of the mission to Malawi, said: “We can turn on the tap and pull the chain and take top quality drinking water and safe sanitation for granted. Sadly that is not the case for millions of people in the world. This exhibition raises awareness of their plight and gives us the chance to help. A child dies every 15 seconds because of disease caused by dirty water yet it costs just £15 to provide clean water and safe toilets for a person for their entire life.”
The exhibition is open to the public from 10am to 6pm each day from Friday August 25 until it closes at 6pm on Tuesday August 29.