Awareness Through Art

“Saving Grace – Photographs of the Seven Sisters of the Pleiades” comes to the Hyde Art Gallery.

Liliana Rankin, Senior Staff Writer

Grossmont College’s Hyde Gallery is showing “Saving Grace – Photographs of the Seven Sisters of the Pleiades” by Suda House through April 9.

House is a photographer who focuses her work on illustrating womens’ beauty and strength, as well as the hardships and struggles they face. She acquired her inspiration from experiencing her struggles as a mother and daughter.

“As a woman, I stand in complete wonder and awe at life itself, and with wide-eyed curiosity, I continue to photograph, to get beneath the surface, to discover what is under our skin, by laying bare the subliminal nature of the feminine, the carnal within us, the unethical of our maternal fate and the vulnerable nature that is within all women,” House said on her website. 

The “Saving Grace” series is here to spread awareness about climate change, show the issues of plastic debris permeating our planet both land and sea, and represent the power of women that will change the course of the world. House photographs the seven sisters of the Pleiades participating in different tasks cleaning and saving the ocean. 

When House was asked in an interview what inspired her to make these pieces, she explained, “After I retired in 2015, I did a rough water swim after literally 30 years, and when I got out of the Oceanside pier, I was covered in motor oil from head to toe, and I thought, ‘This is wrong.’ And that sort of made me think about what can I do in terms of art activism.” 

House continued: “It became very clear to me that the way to draw people in is not hitting them over the head with something gross, but to draw them in with beauty.” 


In Greek mythology, the seven sisters of Pleiades were sent away by Zeus to a star cluster over 400 lightyears away. They returned to earth, answering the calls and pleas to save their beloved ocean, risking their discovery.

In the exhibit, Electra, one of the seven sisters of Pleiades, is shown riding a whale to the ocean’s surface. She is removing an abandoned fishing net from around the whale’s body, which is pulling the whale down to the bottom of the sea, potentially causing its death. 

“I feel like it’s showing the whale that is wrapped around the debris is trapped,” said Grossmont Student Sarah Marcus. 

Another one of the sisters, Celano, is photographed on the back of a giant sea turtle. She is attempting to remove a floating white market bag from the mouth of the giant sea turtle. When plastic bags are condemned to the ocean, turtles often mistake them for jellyfish, attempting to consume them. 

“This piece specifically made me feel emotional,” said Mary Lou Del Toro, a local community member who was viewing the exhibit. “Sea turtles are one of my favorite animals, it’s devastating to see this happening to them.”

House’s process of creating these pieces took many elements putting them together to fit her views, such as models, assistance to make waves on the side, and some photoshopping. 

“Back in 1991 and 1992, my former colleague who retired started bringing digital imaging into photography,” House explains. “So I got in the back of my mind that I wanted to do big walls of water. 


“The tank is plastic like a full bed it sits on the floor,” she continued. “It has a clear back, four clear sides, and it’s 18 to 24 inches deep. I filled it full of water, built a little environment in it, put a figure in it, and photographed from above.” 

House has teamed up with Surfrider Foundation San Diego County to fight plastic pollution artfully. The foundation accepts donations from students and the public to support their grassroots efforts to rid San Diego of harmful plastic wastes. 

By making a $100 donation to the Surfrider Foundation, you will receive a special edition print of one of seven sisters photographed by House, although, you will not be able to choose which one you get. 

“Saving Grace – Photographs of the Seven Sisters of the Pleiades” will be up in the Hyde Art Gallery until April 9. House will also be hosting an artist reception on March 22 from 4 to 7 p.m. 

The exhibition is free and open to the public. Students participating in in-person classes and staff approved to be on campus are allowed walk-in visitation. Students who are learning remotely, staff who are teaching or operating remotely and the rest of the general public may request an appointment to visit the gallery. 

The Hyde Art Gallery is located in the Performing and Visual Arts Center (Building 22). It is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


This article originally appeared in the March 2022 print issue of The Summit.