Water Library consists of nine interconnected sections focusing on projects that artist Basia Irland has created over the last thirty years in Africa, Canada, Europe, South America, Southeast Asia, and the United States. Through her work, Irland offers a creative understanding of water while examining how communities of people, plants, and animals rely on this vital element. With a humanistic and artistic approach anchored in science, Water Library is a tribute to ecology expressed through art. Irland's art projects explore practical ways to conserve water through rain harvesting systems, how to foster dialogue and cooperation along the entire length of a river, and the dangerous impact of waterborne diseases on human health. By offering thought-provoking information, presented poetically, Water Library inspires in readers a broader appreciation of water's importance in their everyday lives.
"(Basia Irland) harbors a visceral affinity with rivers and with our water-dominated planet as a whole, with its similarities to our own bodies of water, from tears to lowly piss to the breaking of waters at birth. Process, work in time, is all-important. Irland also acknowledges the significance of migration, of the 'body in motion.' Some of her sculptures are portable, companions on the journey."--Lucy R. Lippard, art and cultural critic
"Irland's book/objects show us the natural environment, and the direct consequences of neglect, damage, and forgetting."--Edward Lucie-Smith, British art critic, author, poet
"Her sculpture is an extended investigation of and hymn to water."--Dr. Kathleen Stewart Howe, professor of art history and director, Pomona College Art Museum, California.
"Basia's intense scrutiny of how humans interact with water has inspired remarkable works that expand our understanding of the essential relationships between water and life."--Dr. Diane R. Karp; director, Santa Fe Art Institute
"Bringing the voices of the sciences and arts together, as the work of Basia Irland does, to help us find new respect for the beauty and mystery of the natural world provides a healthy antidote. Through the integration of science, art, policy, and ethics we may find a way to succeed as a species in adapting ourselves to water's time-tested, life sustaining cycles."--Sandra Postel, Director, Global Water Policy Project