Thirtea for One

The hidden water we actually consume

Since 2015, the city of Cape Town in South Africa is experiencing its driest period in over a century. Being a South African born designer, whose family and friends are directly affected by an on-going water crisis, Shaakira began a discourse on the precious element of water. Water is contained in almost everything around us, but sadly, at the same moment it is a dwindling resource that we tend to ‘spill’ carelessly.

Shaakira created a ceramic installation to show the amount of virtual water a simple cup of tea contains. For every 150ml of tea, 30l of water is required in the entire production chain process. Her installation functions as a large tea maker, where one has to pour water into the tallest cup continuously until the very last cup at the bottom is filled. As it stands today, it makes up for just one third of the 30l of water used in the production chain of a cup of tea.

She dedicated this work to her father who passed away in November 2017, and it was his passing that brought her to the cold realization of the finite nature of life in general. “We take a lot for granted, that is, until it is gone forever”, she says, “in the same way, we somehow all tend to take for granted that our natural resources will be here to serve us forever.”

Thirtea for One