Shared Seas

Shared Seas is an international artistic exchange project begun in the autumn of 2016. The faculty and students of Monterey Peninsula College collaborated with the faculty and students of Menntaskólinn á Tröllaskaga, an upper secondary school in Olafsfjordur, Iceland, to create artwork based on the idea that the enormity and fluidity of the oceans connects us all.

Lára Stephánsdottir, photographer and headmistress of MTR muses “The ocean is a joint nature for all of us on the globe. We live on the borders between this vast tank of water with all the life in it, far from each other but yet so close. Our weather conditions in Iceland are often based on the weather in the Caribbean, the Gulf Stream and such. We have lived here based on the food we get from the sea. We supported armies in WWII with food, and we lost more people on the sea per capita during the war, than did Russia. Then there is the power of the sea, the energy, the colors, the reflections. In a way we are touching an ‘Other World’ that is hugely not researched. It is a world of the unknown, nature, shapes, colors etc. It is vital part of our lives, those of us who live by the sea.”

For all living in coastal towns and cities, the lure and mystery of the sea is a call, always close at hand, always influencing our lives, creating our communities. We work on the ocean, play in the bay, are cooled by the ocean breezes. So many sea towns share the phenomena of migratory fish visiting their waters, changing lives and landscape, and disappearing overnight. The seas are a place of migration, both voluntary and forced, not only for sea life, but for humans as well. The slave trade ruled the Atlantic once, now the Mediterranean is the host for the dreams and nightmares of millions of today’s migrant populations.

And then there are the fish, the kelp, the dolphins, the whales, the seals, the birds. Visually, these things alone are rich enough to create a stunning exhibition. Paired with further interpretations of the theme, the varied approaches have resulted in a thoughtful and exciting exhibition.


Jeri Abeyta, Heidi Alonzo, Hólmfrídur Vídalín Arngrimsdóttir, Karolina Baldvinsdottir, Eva Bernstein, Kathleen Biersteker, Daniel Bohrman, Marilyn Bomachatao-Enochs, Kevin Bransfield, Victoria Carr, Linda Craighead, Michelle dela Cruz, Jamie Dagdigian, Patricia Elm, Barbara Furbush, Hailey Everest, Jason Fosler, Alice Geller Robertson, Susan Gilchrist, Kathryn Greenwald, Susan Hutcheson, Shell Jacobs, Bob Lamp, Celia Lara, Katherine Levin-Lau, Machi Kayawaki, Evelyn Klein, Helen MacKinlay, Fran Majors, Adam Marks, Jude Menconi,  Greg Mettler, Bergpór Morthens, Margaret Niven, Sharon Parolini, Anna Pórisdottir, AV Pike, Jude Pipes, Mai Ryuno, Robynn Smith, Amy Spowart, Lára Stefánsdóttir,   Claire Thorson, Juliet Spohn Twomey, Jonathan Wolf

 Curated by Margaret Niven and Robynn Smith