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Insight into Rising Tide Exhibition

Baskets woven from plastic construction wrapping
Contemporary woven baskets made from plastic construction strapping found on his local beach by master fisherman Anthony C Guerrero. Photo Hazel Frost

Earlier this year AAS funded a tour for AAS Members led by curator Dr Ali Clark of the Rising Tide: Art and Environment in Oceania exhibition at National Museum of Scotland showcasing artworks created in response to the climate crisis in Australia and the Pacific Islands. In our latest Voices of Makers blog new AAS Member Hazel Frost shares her thoughts on the experience.


When the chance to tour the National Museum of Scotland’s new exhibition ‘Rising Tide: Art and Environment in Oceania’ with the curator arose, I was really excited. My work is inspired in part by Australia’s natural world and the looming threat of climate change, so I was interested in learning more about it. The opportunity was organised by the team at Applied Arts Scotland.

The exhibition showcased remarkable art and craft pieces, such as Yuki Kihara’s stunning work — a series of five decorated kimonos intertwining Japanese and Samoan cultures (photograph below, far right, detail of kimono by Yuki Kihara | サ-モアのうた (Sāmoa no uta) A Song About Sāmoa – Vasa (Ocean). Scenes of Pacific beaches depict poignant reminders of our plastic waste crisis; a coke can drifts amidst the waves, a plastic bag glides alongside a turtle.

Another highlight was the collection of spearheads (centre image), meticulously crafted by indigenous Australians using ceramics and glass remnants left by settlers. During the curator’s talk, we learned of the careful curation process for each exhibit, as well as the museum’s shift towards sustainable exhibition practices. This sparked conversations among members about the sustainability of our crafts and institutions, like the museum.

Photography by Hazel Frost.

As a new member, having joined Applied Arts Scotland in the last year, I was also thrilled to meet other members of the group who were warm and friendly, inviting me along for a coffee and a natter after the talk. As well as a learning experience, it was a great opportunity to meet some of the artists behind the great work I have been admiring. I look forward to coming along to more meetings like this in the future!

Rising Tide: Art and Environment in Oceania is free and at National Museum of Scotland until 14 April 2024.

Curator Dr Ali Clark also shares her reflections on the Rising Tide exhibition in her National Museums Scotland blog.

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