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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.


Flow is an ongoing community-engagement and participatory project about water. I invite viewers to respond to the question, “What is your relationship with water?”  In exchange for their responses, participants receive a piece of artwork from the installation. This project is guided by the concept of reciprocity and kinship that are needed for water, the environment, and for each other. It offers a new way of thinking about our relationships with water, our communities, and our interconnected world through water.


Since 2015, I have been collecting people’s stories about their relationships with water. Each story may be a tiny splash, but collectively they become a big wave. We realize that each one of us has a story to tell and holds a splash of water that is quite powerful. I hope that this realization becomes a deep transformative experience for the viewers and participants, and that their experience translates to a greater care for our water and for each other.


As water flows, so do people’s stories. We connect with each other through water. One of my participants wrote: “Water is a connector.” Indeed, we must not think of water as dividers for terrestrial beings. Oceans are vast, rivers flow, and rain gives us sustenance. Water is constantly moving from one state of being to another. Water is always moving from one place to another. We came from water. We are water. We must not forget this.

About the Artist

Naoe Suzuki (she/her) is a Japanese American visual artist, born in Tokyo, Japan, and has lived in the United States for over three decades. Suzuki works primarily with drawing, and practices community-engagement work about water. 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.


Suzuki was awarded grants from Massachusetts Cultural Council (2022, 2006 & 2001,) Waltham Cultural Council (2023), World Fund for Nature (2023), the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Puffin Foundation (2023 & 2013), 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. She lives and creates work in Waltham, Massachusetts, located on the traditional and ancestral land of the Massachusett, where the land has been inhabited and cared for by the Massachusett Tribe for thousands of years.

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