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NEW BEDFORD – Massachusetts Design Art and Technology Institute (DATMA), the non-collecting contemporary art institute and its partners will kick off a city-wide, collaborative venture called “WATER 2021” from June 17 through Oct. 17.
DATMA’s free public art projects will examine the role of water within the histories, economies, and cultures of several countries as well as the South Coast —from its geographic location and its wide-ranging fishing industry to the technologies of the 21st century providing new sources of energy while protecting the fragile ecology of the region.
Four internationally recognized artists have been invited by DATMA to present work that will celebrate the essence of water and human beings’ traditional but changing relationship to it in addition to a host of extensive programming with partner organizations.
Harvesters of the Deep: Portraits of Fisherwomen from South Korea, America, and the United Kingdom
This public outdoor exhibition will showcase large-scale but intimate photographic portraits that celebrate the women of the fishing industry around the globe by three artists: Hyung S. Kim, Phil Mello, and Craig Easton. The particular form of fishing in each region – South Korea, America, and the United Kingdom – will be celebrated with photographs to inspire appreciation for the heroism of these underrepresented women and for the talents of the artists who have portrayed them.
Hyung S. Kim’s photographs feature Haenyeo, female divers in the Korean province of Jeju Island whose livelihood consists of harvesting a variety of abalone, clam, and other sea life from the ocean. Kim has documented over 300 Hanyeos from 2012, capturing the women behind the dive. The number of Haenyeo are significantly declining and currently most Haenyeo range in age of 60 to 80. In 2016, the Haenyeo were added to the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Phil Mello’s photographic portraits focus on New Bedford’s local waterfront workers, from fish cutters to purveyors, from welders to auctioneers, from lumpers to inspectors, as well as fisherwomen, each vital to the daily operation of supplying seafood to market. This has been part of a project Mello began in 2008 and continues today, documenting the local fishing industry by showing the people who work in it.
Craig Easton’s series FISHERWOMEN follows the historic route of the UK herring fleet, telling a compelling and critical tale of a unique phenomenon in the history of British women at work. From the early 19th until mid-20th century, the herring fishery was one of the most important industries in Scotland. As the fleet tracked the annual migration of the fish, the “Herring Lassies” – a unique band of female-only migratory workers – would mirror the journey on land, stopping in each port to work along the way. The tradition of ‘going to the herring’ was passed from mother to daughter for generations. Today, fisherwomen no longer work on the quay, but are found mostly behind closed doors, working unseen in large fish processing factories, smokehouses, and small family firms all around the UK coast, still fiercely proud to be continuing a great heritage.
Harvesters of the Deep: Portraits of Fisherwomen from South Korea, America, and the United Kingdom will be shown free and open to the public in New Bedford, MA along the harborfront walkways on Macarthur Boulevard and in downtown along Union Street between Water Street and North 2nd Street, from June 17 to October 17, 2021. The exhibition will be accompanied by a digital catalogue with text translations in Portuguese and Korean. The New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center is an official partner.
“315 prepared dc-motors, cotton balls, cardboard boxes 13″ x 13″ x 13″, 2011/2021”
Swiss sound-installation artist, Zimoun, will bring a majestic installation sculpture from Switzerland to the UMass Dartmouth College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) Star Store Swain Gallery that will provide an audible, hypnotic experience to be enjoyed in the gallery or from outside. A large number of cardboard boxes stacked throughout the gallery space, each with a small dc motor swinging a cotton ball that drums against its surface, will create a multitude of identical noises with the buzzing, beating, and swivelling of hundreds of the same small motors running simultaneously against the boxes.
Zimoun often works with a large number of the same mechanical systems and is interested in sound as an architectonic element, namely sound to create space but also sound to inhabit a room and interact with it. The choice of materials relates to a general interest in simplicity and minimalism—simple, raw, unspectacular, and pure—which Zimoun calls honest materials.
“315 prepared dc-motors, cotton balls, cardboard boxes 13″ x 13″ x 13″, 2011/2021” by Zimoun will be on view at UMass Dartmouth CVPA Star Store Swain Gallery at 715 Purchase St. daily from June 17 to Sept. 13. From Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., visitors will be able to reserve a timed ticket for indoor gallery access by signing up online at www.DATMA.org.
Sea Scallops: Sentinels of the Deep
In partnership with the School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) at UMass Dartmouth, Sea Scallops: Sentinels of the Deep will be an exhibition of scientific archival photography capturing the region’s seafloor, the technology used to collect data from the ocean’s diverse ecosystems, and the women in fisheries science conducting this important research that has given the local scallop industry a re-birth and revolutionized fishing on the East Coast. The scallop imagery was captured with advanced underwater video technology developed by Dr. Kevin Stokesbury, Professor of Fisheries Oceanography, and his team of SMAST researchers.
Sea Scallops: Sentinels of the Deep will be a public outdoor exhibition displayed on storefront windows on a series of historic buildings in downtown New Bedford along Union Street between Acushnet Avenue and North 2nd Street from June 17 to October 17, 2021.
“DATMA’s “WATER 2021” brings more exciting art from around the world and puts it on display for the public – fantastic photographs of people and marine life, and a sculptural sound exhibition that shows how the integration of technology and design creates art. Best of all, our entire programming season is spread throughout downtown, within walking distance from each other, free and accessible to people of all ages and interests,” shared Nicholas Sullivan, Board Chair of DATMA.
In addition to commissioned artists, DATMA will collaborate with the City of New Bedford, and several local non-profits, schools, universities, and businesses to bring “WATER 2021” to New Bedford. Visit www.DATMA.org for details.