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Exhibition National Museum of Scotland

Rising Tide: Art and Environment in Oceania

12 Aug 2023 - 14 Apr 2024

Exhibition Gallery 2, Level 3


© Fenton Lutunatabua /

© Fenton Lutunatabua /

Delve into the most important and pressing issue of our time, humanity’s damaging relationship with planet Earth.

This urgent issue is felt especially deeply in Australia and the Pacific Islands where sea levels are rising due to climate change and the oceans are filling with plastic.

Rising Tide considers our relationship to the natural environment through contemporary responses to climate change and plastic waste by Indigenous Australian and Pacific Islander artists. Master fisherman Anthony C Guerrero's contemporary woven baskets made from plastic construction strapping found on his local beach in Guam will be on display. The exhibition hosts the latest version of artist George Nuku’s installation, Bottled Ocean 2123, which imagines the state of the oceans 100 years into the future in an immersive, undersea landscape crafted from single use plastic bottles.

A tall, rectangular woven basket with open top against a black background. The basket is bright yellow and woven with thick strands of discarded plastic which form a textured pattern of squares. It has two small handles on the right.

One of Anthony C Guerrero's woven baskets, made from plastic waste collected from his local beach (V.2020.9.2).

Rising Tide also features historical material from National Museums Scotland's collections, such as spear points from the Kimberley region of Western Australia made by Aboriginal men from discarded glass bottles.

The vulnerabilities of Oceanic countries to climate change will be highlighted, whilst showcasing the strength and resilience of their diverse communities.

A Pacific Islander man dramatically poses on a beach covered in a shallow layer of water and seaweed. Throwing his head back and striking a 'warrior pose', his long braided hair, traditional dyed cloth wrapping below his waist, and the boat paddle he holds make him seem powerful and heroic.

One of a series of images entitled 'Raise A Paddle' by Fenton Lutunatabua. © Fenton Lutunatabua /

A woman lies facing up in the surf on a beach, with a small wave washing over her.

Spotlight On: Rising Tide

Dr Ali Clark, joined virtually by some of the artists featured in the exhibition, discusses how Indigenous Australian and Pacific Islander artists are responding to the climate crisis with works that showcase the strength and resilience of their diverse communities. Highlighting examples from the exhibition, they will consider the use of art as a means of protest. Followed by a live audience Q&A.

Spotlight On: Rising Tide

Rising Tide Resources

In 2019, Scotland declared a climate emergency. What can I do? Discover helpful resources on how you can get politically active and help to reduce your carbon footprint and the amount of single-use plastic in the environment.

Rising Tide: What can I do?

Getting here

National Museum of Scotland
Chambers Street


Map and directions


We want everyone who comes to our museums to enjoy their time with us and make the most of their visit. 


  • There is level access to the Museum via the main doors to the Entrance Hall on Chambers Street and the Tower entrance at the corner of Chambers Street and George IV Bridge. 
  • Lifts are available to all floors and accessible toilets are available on most floors, as well as a Changing Places (U) toilet in the Entrance Hall on Level 0.
  • There is an induction loop in the Auditorium.
  • Guide dogs, hearing dogs and other recognised assistance dogs are admitted.


Find out more about our access information.

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