DATMA will bring the art to New Bedford this summer with ‘SHELTER 2022–23’

NEW BEDFORD — In its fourth year, the Massachusetts Design Art and Technology Institute Massachusetts Design Art and Technology Institute (DATMA) will launch three new free public art exhibits as well as numerous programs and initiatives with partners in New Bedford this summer.

This city-wide collaborative venture, called “SHELTER 2022-23”, will examine the history, economy and culture of the SouthCoast region which is rooted in the value of “shelter” and will cover a range of topics including the current housing crisis, the Underground Railroad that sheltered African Americans from slavery, the 9,100-foot-long hurricane barrier that protects the country’s most lucrative fishing port in the States States, and more.

The artists and designers invited by DATMA to present “refuge” works are Do Ho Suh from Seoul, South Korea; Rael San Fratello of Los Angeles, California; and Abeer Seikaly from Jordan.

DATMA will also present “Safe Station,” New Bedford’s unique story in opposition to slavery through the lens of local artists including Fitzcarmel LaMarre and Alison Wells.

Additionally, rare historic photos documenting the critical New Bedford Hurricane Barrier landmark sheltering the city from natural disasters will be on display, along with more than 10 additional partner programs and youth workshops related to the “ refuge” will be offered.

Exhibition 1 – SHELTER: Flexible Fibers + Sustainable Solutions

This exhibition presents modern approaches to the concept of “refuge” from Seoul, South Korea; Los Angeles, California; and Jordan. Each work explores the making of dwellings through the making and use of unique materials that have resulted in striking architectural productions, community collaborations, and developments in new structural fabrics and spatial design.

Weaving of a home interior courtesy of Abeer Seikaly.

The exhibition features Do Ho Suh’s “fabric architecture” sculpture exploring identity, migration and memory; one of the largest 3D printed bioplastic structures to date from Rael San Fratello; and Abeer Seikaly’s photography of his structural fabric system inspired by traditional Bedouin textiles. These works and the creative processes behind them show how new technologies are weaving unique materials and innovations to advance the vision of home while responding to the housing crisis in a humanitarian way.

Star Lounge 1129 Courtesy of Rael San Fratello

Featured artworks include: Do Ho Suh, Hub-1, Entrance, 260-7, Sungbook-Dong, Sungboo-Ku, Abeer Seikaly, A Series of Photo Renderings of His Structure Design: Weaving a Home 2020 Rael San Fratello, Star Lounge

Exhibit 2 – Safe Station: The New Bedford Underground Railroad

Safe Station tells the unique story of New Bedford in opposition to slavery through the lens of local artists. Highlighting key figures and spaces in the city’s African American community, each artist’s work reflects the stories of self-empowered people, the history of the Underground Railroad, and the abolition movement of New Bedford. .

Featured performers include Alison Wells, Fitzcarmel LaMarre and students from Our Sisters School. Local history and self-guided tours will be presented in conjunction with the New Bedford Historical Society and the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. Visitors can also access interactive digital components, virtual reality tours, and videos originally created for the New Bedford Historical Society and UMass Dartmouth exhibit, Black Spaces Matter: Celebrating New Bedford’s Abolition Row.

“As a resident of New Bedford and a woman of color originally from Trinidad and Tobago, I was particularly intrigued and inspired by New Bedford’s extensive involvement in the Underground Railroad. My intention is to explore a contemporary approach to

The Underground Railroad theme to raise awareness and encourage discussion of a story unknown to many, but one that challenges and inspires our community today,” says New Bedford artist Alison Wells of her work in Safe Station.

Safe Station: The New Bedford Underground Railroad will be featured free and open to the public in downtown New Bedford outside the YMCA green space on Union Street between N. 2nd Street and N. Water Street from June 16 to September 12.

Exhibit 3 – Safe Harbor: Building the New Bedford Hurricane Barrier

Completed in 1966, the New Bedford Hurricane Barrier began as a creative solution and an enormous monumental task to shelter and protect the city and its harbor by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Seen also from space, the structure was designed with and against the “force of nature” along the east coast of New Bedford, where raging seas had regularly caused destruction and devastation to textile mills and the prosperous fishing port. With the current problem of climate change, rising sea levels and severe storms, DATMA will work in partnership with the US Army Corps of Engineers to present rare historical photos documenting this ambitious, critical and successful project while posing questions about how to protect the city from future climate-related events.

Safe Harbor: Construction of the New Bedford Hurricane Barrier will be on display for free and open to the public in downtown New Bedford outdoors along the Harbor Walkways on Macarthur Boulevard from June 16 through September 12.

Full details and additional programs are available at www.DATMA.org.

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