Holiwater: Installation and performance

Holiwater: Installation and performance
19 September – 4 October 2009
Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
Mirror World XI


Holiwater, a two-week installation embracing photography and film, classical Baul singing, electronic music, and breathtaking live performances, opens at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery this month.

Born from the Ganges river of India, the Holiwater Project’s ambition is to inform and inspire positive action to stop the world’s water crisis turning to catastrophe.

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth is the sole host for the Holiwater performances in New Zealand on 2 and 3 October.

A collaboration between New Zealand filmmaker Andrei Jewell and international musicians, the Holiwater Project entertains and engages on both an arts and action level across world-wide audiences.

The installation of film, photography and music culminates at the Gallery, on Friday 2 and Saturday 3 October, with captivating public performances conceived to bring the experience of the river to the audience. Indian Baul singers will perform accompanied by live percussion and electronic music beds, within an environment of reflective video projection.

Holiwater curator and Govett-Brewster Art Gallery Director Rhana Devenport says the Project evokes questions relevant to all of us. “With water quality an ever growing concern in New Zealand and Taranaki, Holiwater’s focus on this global issue through traditional mystic singing, contemporary sound and visual environments is indeed important and timely in focusing our senses and awareness on this issue.”

Holiwater filmmaker Andrei Jewell says that as a photographer and video artist he was inspired by the music of the Indian landscape and while he set out recording many great classical musicians he found himself preoccupied documenting two wandering Baul musicians on a pilgrimage along the Ganges river banks.

Jewell explains: “The Bauls worship the river through their music, they are mystics who see the river as a living deity. I noticed their reaction to the vast changes that had occurred to the river itself over a significant period of their lives. The river revealed many things that shape our modern world…its rhythms, its beauty, its people, its meaning for humanity and, sadly, its rapid deterioration in the face of neglect and misunderstanding…”

Since the turn of the millennium, The Holiwater Project has gathered together international artists – filming their music and performance – to give voice to the Ganges, her plight, and to focus attention on the sustainable management of water globally. This is the ninth year the project has partnered with regional and international organisations working with water and local communities.

“The mission is global. Holiwater is a personal portrait of India’s most sacred river.

It is an attempt at revealing her mystery and the extent of her demise – given that her condition shows so vividly the vulnerability of the Earth’s limited fresh water supplies in an uncertain age marked by rapid climate change,” says Jewell.

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery