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DATMA, a non-collecting contemporary art institute, has kicked off a city-wide collaborative venture: WATER 2021. These free public art exhibitions examine the role of water within the histories, economies, and cultures of several countries as well as the South Coast of Massachusetts — from the area’s geographic location and its wide-ranging fishing industry to the ways in which 21st-century technology provides new energy sources while protecting the region’s fragile ecology. DATMA invited four internationally recognized artists to present three exhibitions in downtown New Bedford, all of which celebrate the essence of water and human beings’ traditional but changing relationship to it. 

Harvesters of the Deep: Portraits of Fisherwomen from South Korea, America, and the United Kingdom is a public outdoor exhibition showcasing largescale but intimate photographic portraits of women in the fishing industry by three artists: Hyung S. Kim, Phil Mello, and Craig Easton. Specific types of fishing practiced in each of their countries — South Korea, the United States, and the United Kingdom — are celebrated through photography to inspire appreciation for the heroism of these underrepresented women as well as the artistic talents of those who depict them.

The second exhibition, 280 prepared dc-motors, cotton balls, cardboard boxes 13″ x 13″ x 13″, 2011/2021, is an installation sculpture by Swiss sound-installation artist Zimoun. This piece provides an audible, hypnotic experience, encouraging viewers to reflect and wonder, to think and question their surroundings. 

Sea Scallops: Sentinels of the Deep, the third exhibition, was created in partnership with the School for Marine Science and Technology at UMass Dartmouth. It showcases scientific archival photography capturing the seafloor of Massachusetts’s South Coast, the technology used to collect this imagery, and the women in fisheries science conducting the research that has given the local scallop industry a re-birth and revolutionized regional fishing.

WATER 2021 is on view in New Bedford, Massachusetts, through October 17, 2021.

For more information, visit datma.org.