Chicago-based artist Pope.L, who recently won the 2017 Bucksbaum Award for his work in this year’s Whitney Biennial, is raising funds on Kickstarter for an interventionist installation and performance piece that calls attention to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. For Flint Water Project, the artist will purchase and bottle 150 gallons of polluted water from Flint residents. He will then sell the bottles as limited edition artworks in Detroit.
According to the campaign’s website, when Pope.L was commissioned to complete an artwork by the artist-run Detroit gallery What Pipeline, he said he did not want to re-victimize the city, and instead wanted to frame Detroit as a place that would aid another city in need. “Flint Water will call attention to the city’s continued plight while raising funds to support Flint’s citizens in their struggle,” the artist said.
Around nine hundred bottles will be produced before the artist’s exhibition opens at What Pipeline on September 7, and an additional three hundred bottles will be packaged and filled throughout the duration of the show, which runs until October 21.
After the city of Flint changed its water supply to the Flint River in 2014, it was discovered that massive amounts of lead was seeping into the drinking water, which prompted former president Barack Obama to declare a state of emergency in 2016. While the city switched back to its regular supply lines late last year, its pipes had sustained heavy damage and now need to be replaced. Many of the city’s 100,000 residents are still without access to clean and safe drinking water.