Cecelia Chapman

Savage Chances

Lanaquarelle paper, gouache, watercolor, ink, graphite, personal rubber stamps. 9 x 12 in., 23 x 30.5 cm.

Savage Chances: icy comets, trans-neptunian objects, chasing waves, ultramarine dreams and immigration

We are circling a flaming star in bodies of about 65% water on a planet covered by 70% water. Scientists argue that after the Big Bang icy comets and trans-neptunian objects dumped oceans of water on earth. Roughly 97% of earth’s water is in the oceans. 3% is freshwater. 70% of the brain is water. It takes about 12 gallons per day to sustain a human. To create one pint of beer takes 20 gallons of water. 1/3 what the world spends on bottled water in one year could pay for projects providing water to everyone in need. 1 pound of chocolate requires 3,170 gallons of water.

Water is our most valuable resource and water conflict is a greater threat than economic crisis, terrorism or global warming. The current immigration crisis is a direct result of struggles for resources and water. The baby boomers’ inability to create a blueprint for the future has created a dystopic scenario.

Water’s mutability is the philosophic subject of the Tao: following the ways of water is a guide to successful inner life. And, is there anything more asemic than water’s infinite patterns?

For about a decade I chased waves as an artist, a lover of nature, and bodysurfer. I felt the global corporate coup d’etat coming and wanted to see parts of the world before Club Med, mining corporations and Exxon Mobil destroyed it. Living in various places and working wherever I could, I watched water and peoples’ interaction with water.

One Caribbean island I lived on was a coral rock filled with natural springs. Locals had a hunk of coral in their house to filter municipal piped water. Local Rastafarians bathed religiously three to four times a day in pristine gully springs. They carried the spring water home for drinking and cooking. As the local government cracked down on revolutionary and socio-cooperative voices by banning camouflage and certain clothing styles and gatherings, the US government invaded a nearby island. Droves of islanders fled north. Prices were driven upward by tourism. The gorgeous, water-filled gullies were sold off for enormous, architectural digest, second homes for wealthy foreigners. I began to experience harassment and moved on.

Overlooking downtown Acapulco, on a hill of flower-gorged streets, a fisherman’s shack had been built over a natural spring. It was used by everyone in the neighborhood. The fisherman and family immigrated north. Their fishing livelihood was cut off by a private yacht club. The area was overrun by gangs selling drugs to survive. NAFTA agreements forced farmers to abandon their farms and seek work in the city where they were unable to make a living. It became more difficult for me to move about alone and I moved.

I drank coconuts in lieu of clean water everywhere.

Rainbow filled Kauai is the wettest spot on earth. Bodysurfing-hula-dancer-shamans wandered in the mists collecting herbs that flourish in this condition. Meanwhile, increasingly, but as always, Hawaiians, who feel a deep spiritual connection to their environment, are barred from access to water, ancestral and coastal land by wealthy outsiders. It became difficult to find work and I left the island

South China Seas pirates tailed the fishing boat surfers and myself were traveling in for days. They were trying to sell us pearl diving girls who smiled with gold teeth. International mining corporations with billion dollar profits occupied the pirates' islands. Acid drainage from the copper and gold, open-pit mine tailings contaminated surrounding river systems, land surfaces, groundwater and reefs. A fisherman told us the pollution forced them to abandon their fishing or farming. Guerrilla groups began attacking mine employees and the mines.

Capitalism embraces consumption and competition. Cooperation has enabled the survival of our species. The cult of materialism will fail because happiness, survival and dreams have not been attained through destruction of resources for consumption. One can only hope, as it is observed in the Tao, civilization will rapidly adopt the ways of water, shape-shift, dissolve barriers, and move on.

Cecelia Chapman is an American visual artist working in drawing and video.
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Blogger Unknown said...

Beautiful work and beautiful thought. Eye opening and thought provoking.

8:34 AM  

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