Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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Photographing Water… or the Absence of Water – Mustafah Abdulaziz

Lilia Barrett
A preview of Abdulaziz’s new exhibit being featured at the MMAM now through June, 2024.

The Minnesota Marine Art Museum (MMAM) is now displaying a new exhibit surrounding their theme of water. Mustafah Abdulaziz, a photographer from New York, emphasizes the importance of freshwater in his artwork, specifically pertaining to how climate change has affected humanity throughout the decades.

Abdulaziz focuses on the issues and importance of water access for humans. There are over fifty pieces of Abdulaziz’s art featured at the museum, with pictures displaying the fascinating element of water, all of which can be viewed in-person until June 23, 2024.

Caitlin Crochet, the Director of Communication at MMAM describes more about Abdulaziz’s work.

“His imagery is stunning, and he really shows the importance of what role water plays in each of our lives right now like in our usage and consumption,” Crochet said.

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Caitlin goes into detail regarding the three series that Abdulaziz is putting on display: “Water one,”Water two,” and “Arctic,” each of which tells a slightly different perspective on the importance of water.

Abdulaziz has committed himself to traveling to at least 30 different countries for his photography project on water, including places like Greenland, Alaska, China, Brazil, and many others. These countries are located in varying climates where he is able to capture that specific region’s importance of water and its effect on life on earth.

In 2022, after traveling to places like Greenland and Alaska, Abdulaziz was not entirely surprised to not have seen any polar bears, or snow-capped mountains. Instead, he photographed a port covered with overfished, dead halibut; crowded with trawlers–boats used for fishing.

He documented his reports on water quality and how things like fish and tourists are affected by such water. Abdulaziz emphasizes how precious the element of water is to humanity, and he continues to travel the world in hopes to learn and spread the word on the importance of water.

On Friday, January 26th, Mustafah Abdulaziz and other artists will visit the MMAM to talk more about their artwork and their experience of being an artist. This will be a social event where guests from Winona and other locations can come together to learn more about exhibits like Abdulaziz’s.

Abdulaziz has won a Leica Oskar Barnack Award, an international award for the high-quality art of photography, and has had his artwork published by The New York Times, and TIME magazine.

Sara Ricker is a volunteer at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum and explains how precious a sight Abdulaziz’s artwork is.

“His artwork is impressive. He makes it so beautifully clear that we need to do something soon,” Ricker said. “It is a fabulous display of emotions.”

Guests who visit the Minnesota Marine Art Museum will first see Abdulaziz’s display of water with the photo “Woman Gathering Water.” This photo, much like the title, is of a woman from Nigeria who is carrying a gorgeously designed bowl of water on her head. The photo beautifully portrays the simplicity, yet vitality of such an element.

“Water” by Mustafah Abdulaziz is now available to the public until June 23rd, 2024. Students are encouraged to visit on Thursdays, as they receive free admission.

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About the Contributor
Lilia Barrett
Lilia Barrett, News Reporter
Lilia Barrett is a Photographer and News Reporter for The Winonan and started in Spring 2024. Barrett is a first year at Winona State University majoring in Nursing and minoring in Child Advocacy Studies. In addition to working for the Winonan, Barrett is also involved in various clubs throughout campus and enjoys volunteering at nearby food shelves in Winona.  Outside of school, Barrett is a Water Safety Instructor (WSI) where she teaches children, ages 1-14, how to swim. Her favorite hobby is to go on walks with friends around cities, parks, lakes, et cetera. Barrett enjoys road trips with family, her favorite being a trip to Colorado Springs a few summers ago. 

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