In 2006 artist, Jason de Caires Taylor created the world’s first underwater sculpture park in Grenada, West Indies and Cancun, Mexico.
He gets asked ‘Why would you put sculptures underwater?’ Well personally, I don’t see why not, is it not just a new viewing platform, a gallery with a much larger range of distance and angles to view from? This is one thing that could convince me to dig through my cupboards to pull out my old PADI certification and dive again. I mean, fish and coral are beautiful and all, but this to me is quite magical and mysterious.
It is also part of the process for coral and algae to use these sculptures as artificial reefs and part of their beauty is their transformation by nature over time.
One of my favourites is “Man on Fire’ – takes the ‘Burning Man’ concept to a whole other level. Uh, that would be, below sea level… *cough* ‘The cement figure has 75 holes planted with live cuttings of fire coral (Millepora alcicorni). This is a fast growing marine organism, yellow, orange and brown in colour which emits a painful stinging sensation when touched, thus reflecting its name and the title of the sculpture. It is anticipated that over time the figure will appear to be on fire underwater.’
Many of the figures are casts of the local community, those that volunteer to be immortalised. Also, this whole project was funded by Jason himself, who sold his house to realise this dream. Check out this haunting video on YouTube of the sculptures in Grenada.
http://www.underwatersculpture.com for more info.