Jjenna Hupp Andrews
Jjenna Hupp Andrews
Flint, MI

This site is generously sponsored by Jack & Sue Davis.

There once was a land flowing with…

Artist Statement
Water is our lifeblood: our bodies are made from it;
Our daily life depends on it. Our spirits draw nourishment from it.
In Michigan, we are surrounded by water;
It defines who we are as a state and as a people.
Yet, it seems at times, we are the first to take our water for granted.

Water is a spiritual as well as a physical medium that sustains
And nurtures all the inhabitants, past, present and future,
Of this fragile earth.
It is life,
Always touching even when the cool wet lifeblood is not felt upon our skin.
Our ancestral memory and myth whisper to us the power and
sacredness of water.
It tells us we are born of water;
It tells us we are carried into the afterlife upon water.
It promises a land flowing.
Water is a vehicle of spiritual transformation;
We are cleansed by emersion in water.
Yet these ripples of water, which sustain our bodies, spirits, and souls,
Are often unseen, unacknowledged, or tragically ignored.

Water has always played an important part in my life,
Though, it was not until 2005 that water asserted itself
as an important in my art.
Through several installations and performances,
I have become seduced by all aspects of water:
As a necessity; As a luxury; As a commodity;
As an integral part of spirituality.

This installation explores the many cultural and spiritual layers of water.
It draws from my first awareness of Nestle/Ice Mountain’s commodification
and export of spring and glacial water out of Michigan’s aquifers
in Big Rapids and Evert,
All of which was and still is subsidized by our state, Snyder’s gift to Nestle.
This was an issue that was at one time was in the forefront
of environmental and political
Debate in Mid-Michigan; unfortunately, over the last 10 years,
the debate faded, until recently
As Nestle continued to pump irreplaceable glacial water from our aquafers.

In 2016, Nestle has requested and received permission from our state to Increase extraction of water from our Great Lakes Basin,
From 250 gallons per minute to 400 gallons, to bottle and sell
At the expense of the natural environment and the citizens of this state:
“The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality did not find
evidence that the change [increase in water extraction] would
negatively impact the surrounding environment”
In 2018, the comment period is over and there were a total of
80,945 comments against Nestle increasing its pumping;
75 in favor;
842 marked as neutral.
“Nestle expected to pay just $200 annually for access to water,
reported sales $7.8 billion”

Rivers and wells continue to run dry;
Wildlife habitats continue to be destroyed.
We are connected.

The draining of irreplaceable glacial water from our earth is the syringe Withdrawing our body’s sustaining lifeblood.
The political aspects of water are undeniable and inseparable
From the social and spiritual attributes.
The pumping goes on, unimpeded and subsidized by our state government,
Until, the aquifers go dry and Ice Mountain moves on,
Leaving our future generations with only a memory of the water that was.

Now we discovered that our lifeblood was being poisoned by the elite.
In the last 4 years, water,
Continuing to be understood by our government as a commodity,
Or, worse, purported to be a way to save money,
Has resulted in the poisoning of a city;
Our City. Our Flint.
The once great city of Flint is in the midst of a painful rebirth;
She is a phoenix struggling her way out of the fire to emerge stronger,
more vital than ever.
But, her rebirth has been hindered; her life-sustaining yolk, tainted.
Her most vulnerable populations made even more vulnerable;
Her people deemed as inconsequential.
Water treated carelessly while ignoring legislated safeguards…
All in the name of money.

We are connected; veins of water connect us.
Now our life-blood carries the life-altering element of lead into
Our most sacred bodies, Our children.
The lead-heavy water intermingles with the blood until the two are forever Inseparable;
Forever influencing, and at times hindering,
The rhythms of our sacred bodies.
The children will carry this heaviness in their blood,
Causing challenges yet unknown,
For the rest of their days…

This moment’s political implications of water are inseparable
from the social and spiritual.
Michigan’s water is being pumped and sold
at the expense of the natural environment;
Flint’s water is poisoning our elders, our brothers, our sisters,
and our children.
Our lifeblood is abused for short-term profit, and to long-term detriment.
Populations were and are poisoned,
As politicians secretly counted their 30 pieces of silver and quietly
began to drink the clear, imported water from plastic bottles;
The same bottles that deplete our clean aquafers.

Now our sacred lifeblood must be carried into our poisoned city
To healthfully sustain those individuals the love of money has poisoned.
Our lifeblood is portioned out in cups, bowls, and bottles,
Leaving our future generations with only a memory of the water that was…

…and the children shall inherit a land flowing with milk and honey.

This installation couples the sociopolitical reality and our collective outrage With an often neglected spiritual consciousness/connectedness
That flows through our waters.
These water-babies are a transparent reflection of what is here and now;
Ghostly figures as harbingers of what is to come in many communities
across Michigan and beyond,
As we allow corporations to deplete and poison our water;
The very same water that flows throughout the rivers of Lansing,
The very river the Riverwalk overlooks.
Water is the tie that binds us, Beyond Flint, beyond Michigan,
And across our fragile and thirsty earth.
These figures weave the present day realities
with the ancient stories of water
As spiritual and as physical lifeblood of our bodies and our earth.

Water is fragile;
We must constantly embody our responsibility as stewards.
As stewards, we must be vigilant and demand that those with power
Do not squander and poison our lifeblood in our names.
From the life-lines upon our hands to
The life-lines of water upon and within our earth,
Water is our connection:
To each other; to our children; to this earth; to our future.

Water is Our life, Our blood.
And our lifeblood is not a vehicle for profit.