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water works, is a column in ARBUS Magazine
    by Jim Alabiso.

How we witness the world through water, what it means and what we do with it. We’ll talk about everything water, what it offers physically and spiritually, in our art and in our hearts, in our work, on our planet and beyond.

When I saw how much Mila's work and her Ghost Stories piece for Coldplay's album of the same name embodied water, I knew interviewing her would be life changing. 

When I saw the artwork for Coldplay’s Ghost Stories, I was taken by the mythology and discovered Mila Furstova for the first time. Mila etches in Perspex, often creating multilayered pieces. Enamored, I looked at her body of work, including the Flow Series, of a woman in the water. It is featured in last month’s story, “Apo Helios” (Jan/February). Mila, who resides in Cheltenham, England, balances an exhibition in the world’s largest venue – the album cover, motherhood, art and business. She will soon release her new series, Motherhood; to be shown at the AGallery in London. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Mila Furstova for Arbus.

"The shawls, the moon, and the sun have a connection. They are a triangle. She must be reborn. Reborn at the well. This city is special, Michael. Soon you will learn.”

“Why didn’t you do it, Willis, a long time ago? You had a second chance to save this life!”

On December 25th at 1:14 a.m. the full moon reaches aphelion, its farthest distance from the sun. The two bodies taking the earth from both sides means that, in a few hours, the water will be unusually high as the tidal bulge moves around the world and the moon sets exactly opposite the rising sun. It is at precisely 1:14 a.m.1 that I’m suddenly awake,

The tide is ebbing, the water taking the shape of the river bed, making its way to the ocean. The constant sculptor, slightly changing the shoreline at every moment. As a healer, nourishing all along her way. I observe that water takes the shape and changes the shape of its container. Two of the most powerful elements of healing: empathy and change.

...there will be a time in Riverside when Park Street is the new Riverside Avenue, and in Jacksonville Beach; when 3rd Street is the new 1st Street. In 2012 Tropical Storm Debbie gave us a sampling, when the water line took to St. Johns Avenue and Riverside Avenue. While these cycles are inevitable why hurry it along?

The creation of this special effect begins in the nuclear fusion of the sun, from its center, beaming photons at the speed of light to Earth. Eight minutes later, they pierce the magnetosphere, hit the water, bounce off the infinite variety of angles of random ripples at the confluence of wind and water to a leaf gently turning in the heat-generated breeze, and then find their way to my eyes at the place I happen to be. 

As an artist, she is this planet’s sculptor and painter; on the design side, architect of civilization and our lives. Even our beautiful yet over-developed, limited-access, bulk-headed, and highly modified St. Johns River is a testament to how water designs a life. We walk by it, decide by it, build by it, and swear by it. It’s an odd conundrum that we can’t fight nature but it is our nature to do so. But no matter what JaxPort says, we lose every time. She adapts and then we must readapt; and so, as a civilization and in our tiny personal lives, water is the master artist, chief builder. We are merely canvas under its brush, paper under its pencil. 

Last summer I went swimming solo down the coast of Jacksonville Beach. While I rarely go alone, the glassy sea and the sunrise was a perfect lure. As I was walking the path back to the pier parking lot, there was a guy squatting in the sand, puffing on a spent filter-less cigarette. He looked up at me, one eye open, one eye squinting in the sun. He said, "You. You're part of the water system.”

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