Women, Water, and Wells
On 1 June 2012, H. E. Mr David Killion, US Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO and Gretchen Kalonji, Assistant Director General for Natural Sciences, UNESCO, opened an exhibition of photographs of West Africa by Gil Garcetti organized in celebration of the 20th session of the Intergovernmental Council of the International Hydrological Programme.
Women, Water, and Wells reveals the challenges, hopes, and successes experienced by people throughout West Africa—particularly women—who are faced with the daily task of providing safe water for their families and communities. Featuring images by photographer Gil Garcetti, the exhibition commences with landscapes from Niger, Ghana, Mali, and Burkina Faso. It then chronicles the important work of non-governmental organizations in the struggle to provide healthy drinking water and to eradicate a variety of diseases linked to unsafe water. Later sections show the joy that results from locating safe water sources and the ways that they benefit people through sanitation and health, education, economic ventures, and new agricultural possibilities. The project is envisioned as a catalyst to ensure financial support and to engage people and organizations in efforts to provide West African communities with sustainable access to safe water.
In 2001 Gil Garcetti traveled to West Africa for the first of what would be several visits to the continent. Drawn to the land and the people, he became deeply committed to raising awareness of, and funds for, safe water in the region. Thus was born Women, Water, and Wells, a selection of sixty-two striking photographs from his book, Water is Key (Balcony Press). Garcetti’s rich black-and-white photographs reveal the critical link between water and health in West Africa, as well as the dramatic economic and public health outcomes that can be achieved when safe water is delivered to communities.
Known for his long career as a prosecutor and a Los Angeles District Attorney, Gil Garcetti has spent more than forty years as an urban photographer. In 2006 his work was exhibited at the Fowler Museum in the exhibition Dance in Cuba: Photographs by Gil Garcetti. His photography books Iron: Erecting the Walt Disney Concert Hall and Frozen Music have received critical praise in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Oregonian, the Washington Post, and other publications.
Women, Water and Wells was organized by the Fowler Museum at UCLA and was made possible through the support of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and Manus, the support group of the Fowler Museum.
The Permanent Delegation of the United States of America to UNESCO is pleased to present the exhibit at UNESCO Headquarters in collaboration with the International Hydrological Programme, and with the support of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. All works have been lent by the photographer.