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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 October 17, 2021. DATMA’s free public art projects will examine the role of water within the histories, economies, and cultures of several countries as well as SouthCoast Massachusetts—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.
Exhibition 1 – Harvesters of the Deep: Portraits of Fisherwomen from South Korea, America, and the United Kingdom
This public outdoor exhibition will showcase largescale 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.
Exhibition 2 – 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 New Bedford, fill the UMass Dartmouth College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) Star Store Swain Gallery and 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. Zimoun encourages viewers to reflect and wonder, to think and question the surroundings, thus
the titles of the installations are very technical, only describing the materials used.
“I work with three-dimensional sound structures, with spatial experiences and the exploration of sound, material, space, and perception,” Zimoun explains. “In my installation, what you hear is what you see, and what you see is what you hear. It is not a combination of visual and acoustic elements, as both are having the same source. The sound isn’t more important than the visual elements, nor the other way around, as both are the same.”
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 Street in New Bedford daily from June 17 to September 13, 2021 from outdoors throughout the day and evening. From Monday to Friday 10am to 3pm, visitors will be able to reserve a timed ticket for indoor gallery access by signing up online at www.DATMA.org.
Exhibition 3 – 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.
“Following last year’s successful “LIGHT 2020” programming, we wanted to continue our wave of impact with “WATER 2021”,” said Lindsay Mis, Executive Director of DATMA. “It was important for us to design our exhibitions in code with CDC Guidelines so audience members would feel comfortable about viewing an outdoor exhibition in person. In many ways, the exhibitions touch on the region’s coastal innovations, while being part of an international conversation. This area is truly a melting pot of ideas and people, as it has been since its whaling days hundreds of years ago.”
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. These partners will coordinate tours and student field trips, lead design, art, and technology workshops, host symposiums, present digital exhibitions and documentaries. Partner collaboratorsinclude: Fishing Heritage Center (FHC); YMCA New Bedford; Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical School (GNBVT); Our Sisters’ School; UMass Dartmouth College of Visual & Performing Arts (CVPA) & School for Marine Science & Technology (SMAST); Community Boating Center; New Bedford Whaling Historic Park; Seaglass Theater; The Drawing Room; New Bedford Science Café; South Coast Surface Design; New Bedford Symphony Orchestra; 3rd Eye Unlimited; Arts, History, Architecture (AHA!); New Bedford Ballet, and the City of New Bedford.
Additional programming from DATMA and partner collaborators during “WATER 2021” will include:
Online – Virtual Launch Event
The “WATER 2021” Virtual Launch Event will be co-hosted with 3rd EyE Unlimited, a non profit where youth empowerment engage, unite, and activate the community through hip hop culture and mentorship to become transformative leaders. The event will feature dance performances by 3rd EyE Unlimited members and guest speakers, including New Bedford Poet Laurette Patricia Gomes’ debut of a new poem inspired by water, tours of DATMA’s exhibitions, and more. The event will be held on June 17, 2021 from 6 to 8 pm and is open to all. Sign up at www.DATMA.org.
Online – Harvesters of the Deep: Portraits of Fisherwomen from South Korea, America, and the United Kingdom
An expanded online collection from the portfolios of photographers Hyung S. Kim, Phil Mello, and Craig Easton will be available on www.DATMA.org during the 2021 program season.
Artist Talk and Online Documentary – Harvesters of the Deep: Portraits of Fisherwomen from South Korea, America, and the United Kingdom
Photographers Hyung S. Kim, Phil Mello, and Craig Easton will hold a series of talks to share the unique cultural stories about each respective subject matter plus an interactive Q&A segment. The events will also feature the Fishing Heritage Center, a resource for the people and families of the New Bedford fishing community. In addition, DATMA and the Fishing Heritage Center will present documentaries highlighting the “Herring Lassies,” Haenyeo Divers, and New Bedford fisher-workers. To be held throughout July 2021 with more information on www.DATMA.org.
Online – Virtual Walking Tour with the National Park Service Ranger Guide Known as a gem of the National Park System and in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, park rangers have created an alternative opportunity for visitors to enjoy the park and explore the diverse park stories. With “WATER 2021” in mind, guests can take an in-person or virtual tour with the online ranger guide to learn about New Bedford while identifying the buildings in the city’s historic district at risk from sea level rise. Visit www.nps.gov/nebe/planyourvisit/guided-tours to take a virtual tour.
Exhibition – Artistic Interpretation of a Marine Heatwave
Dartmouth based artist Deborah Ehrens in collaboration with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Scientists Dr. Caroline Ummenhofer and Dr. Svenja Ryan will create an artistic installation to represent how data from the past is being mined to better understand the current day climate and the effects of marine heatwaves. From June 9 until June 23, 2021 at South Coast Surface Design in New Bedford and will feature window display for outdoor viewing.
Exhibition – More than a Job
The non-profit New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center will celebrate its 5th anniversary with the opening of a new permanent exhibit which will explore the themes of labor, immigration, sustainability, and significant digital storytelling as well as a focus on women’s roles in the fishing community. Four years in the making, the exhibit will also provide an introduction to the workings of the fishing industry with immersive experiences including a working deck, wheelhouse, and focsle. Opens June 25, 2021.
Exhibition – Women’s Work: At Sea, On Shore, At Home, In the Community The New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center will shine a light on the many roles women play in commercial fishing communities through this exhibition and a series of public programs. Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Women’s Fisheries Network, Mass Cultural Council and the New Bedford, Mattapoisett, and Westport Cultural Councils, programming will run now through December, 2021 and the exhibition will run from August 12 to December 31, 2021.
Exhibition – Tides and Time
For its 8th season, Seaport Art Walk will present a juried outdoor sculpture exhibition with the theme reflecting on the current ever-changing climate, whether that be the ocean, environment, economy, politics, or social justice. The exhibition will run from July 9 until October 17, 2021 along New Bedford’s working waterfront in the Seaport Cultural District.
Exhibition – Fractured Light
Paintings by local artist Michele Poirier-Mozzone will be featured with each piece taken by a waterproof GoPro filming subjects underwater. The freedom to explore unique angles and play with perspective, sometimes looking up at the model, captured natural movement and distortion from below the surface of the water. Paintings on view during August 2021 at The Drawing Room in downtown New Bedford with an artist talk on August 12, 2021.
Seaglass Theater Company will present The Lure of the Sea, a staged concert of classical repertoire that highlights the relationship of fishermen and women to the sea. The concert features excerpts from Joseph Haydn’s Le Pescatrici (The Fishermen), Georges Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers, and Emilio Arrieta’s Marina. The repertoire will take place on August 26, 2021 at the New Bedford Whaling Museum in New Bedford.
Members from the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra will play a pop-up performance on the New Bedford waterfront with “WATER 2021” artwork as a backdrop. The performance will take place on July 8, 2021.
The New Bedford Youth Ballet will perform among Zimoun’s sculpture in the Swain Gallery as part of its end of season performance line-up. The performance will take place in July 2021.
The 25th anniversary of New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park celebrates a quarter century of interpretation, preservation, and partnerships. In partnership with DATMA, the National Park Service will invite rangers who specialize in creating signage and info graphics for the nation’s National Parks to teach youth about communicating through design. The workshops will take place in September 2021. www.DATMA.org.
Intended for all ages to be engaged, all exhibitions and program activities are designed for both a physical and virtual level of participation to account for safety measures during the Covid 19 pandemic. The “WATER 2021” program series is all free and open to the public.