About the project 

What does it mean to have a relationship with water? We are bodies of water. Between sixty to ninety percent of our bodily matter is composed of water. As a fetus, we were protected in amniotic fluid which is made up of 98% of water. We are all born out of water. Without water, all living things die.  In this participatory installation, participants are invited to deep dive into thinking about our relationship with water.


This ongoing project began in 2015. I wanted to urge people to pay close attention to water, the most important natural resource in the world. As climate change accelerates, water becomes more contentious in geopolitical matters. Whether too much or too little, polluted or affected by warming temperature, or not having access to safe and clean water, we cannot turn our back on these issues. Simply put, because we cannot survive without water. Participants are invited to write or type their stories about water in response to the question; “What is your relationship with water?” By replacing the word from “to” to “with” in a sentence, this question becomes more personal and shifts our perceptions in thinking about water.


In exchange of each stories, participants are invited to pick one of the sheets from the installation to take home. Guided by the concept of reciprocity and kinship, this project seeks personal connections with water and to contemplate on our roles and impacts on the planet and water’s role in our lives. Through collecting and sharing stories, this project becomes visual and historical record on our shifting relationship with water.

About the artist

Naoe Suzuki (she/her) is a Japanese American visual artist, born in Tokyo, Japan. Mining archives as a source, she works primarily with drawing and practices community-engagement work about water. Investigating human impacts on the environment, her work meditates on the interconnectedness of our world, inviting viewers to reflect on our lifestyles, histories, relationships, and the legacy of colonialism to our environment.


Naoe was awarded grants from Massachusetts Cultural Council (2022, 2006 & 2001,) the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation (2013 & 2004.) She received an MFA in Studio for Interrelated Media from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 1997, and a BA in Art from Bridgewater State University with double minors in Dance and Women’s Studies in 1992.


Naoe lives and creates work in Waltham, Massachusetts, located on on the traditional and ancestral land of the Massachusett, where the land has been inhibited and cared for by the Massachusett Tribe for thousands of years. Dancing is an important part of her life and she practices Gaga movement language every day. She also dances together with her 86-year-old parents on Zoom every night which she started during the pandemic. She enjoys morning walk by Quinobequin (now known as Charles River) and swimming in Walden Pond during the summer.


Visit her website: www.naoesuzuki.com to see her other projects.