Photo courtesy SAM: Beach Scene is one of the pieces of art that will be on display during the Seattle Art Museum’s water-themed exhibit in March.
Photo courtesy SAM: Beach Scene is one of the pieces of art that will be on display during the Seattle Art Museum’s water-themed exhibit in March.

The Seattle Art Museum presents Our Blue Planet: Global Visions of Water, March 18 through May 30. According to a press release, the exhibit explores the many ways artists around the world have engaged with the theme of water. The exhibition features works from SAM’s collection and three local lenders, with over 80 works of art from 16 countries and seven Native American tribes, including video, sculpture, textiles, paintings, ceramics and photographs. The works date from ancient to contemporary times, including work by 46 living artists and two contemporary works acquired specifically for the exhibition.

Our Blue Planet is a collaboration among three SAM curators: Barbara Brotherton, curator of Native American Art; Natalia Di Pietrantonio, assistant curator of South Asian Art; and Pamela McClusky, curator of African and Oceanic Art.

In the early months of the pandemic, museums and galleries around the world were impacted by exhibition schedule disruptions; SAM began to plan for a future special exhibition primarily relying on its wide-ranging, global collection that would respond to an urgent and relevant topic, according to a press release.

According to the press release, the curators worked closely with many of the living artists on view to develop the themes and points of view in the exhibition. Many of the artists’ thoughts will be represented with labels in the galleries. The artistic responses to water found in Our Blue Planet range from wonder and awe to anger and revelation, inviting viewers to learn, dream and engage their empathy to create social and environmental change, according to the press release.

“We sought to present diverse perspectives on water, with works from the museum’s collection — from Durer to Hiroshige to Bierstadt — placed alongside younger artists whose work has often not been shown in the Pacific Northwest before,” McClusky said in the press release. “Our Blue Planet offers reminders of the great pleasures water provides while also turning to artists who help us face the impact of our species on the planet. Indigenous artists in particular offer long-term visions of what is just and sustainable, as we all face increasing environmental emergencies.”

For the most up-to-date information on planning a visit, go to seattleartmuseum.org.