Coral reefs are often called: “rainforests of the sea”, because they are some of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth. Occupying less than 0.1% of the ocean surface, which equals to half the size of France. They provide a home for 25% of all marine species. The problem is, due to pollution, agricultural and urban runoffs, over-fishing, blast fishing, deseases, digging of canals, access into islands and bays, … the coral reefs are dying!
Bigger threats are the rise of sea temperature and pH changes from the ocean, which results into coral bleaching. Like you can observe on this picture. In 2010, because of water temperature rising, 16% of the world’s reefs died, they called the phenomen: El Nino.
Jason De Caires Taylor, an internationally acclaimed eco-sculptor, creates underwater living creatures, by combining his 2 passions; diving and Sculpting. His sculptures are made from ph neutral clay in order to promote the growth of coral reefs and attract marine life.
I love, taking a peek at their website, to spot the picture gallery and observe how marine life is literally, over time, dressing Taylor’s sculptures.
My favorite gallery, is the exhibition “Vicissitudes“, 26 life sized figures, 5m deep, in Grenada, West Indies, in the Caribbeans. As you can observe, you can distinguish a woman’s expression behind the pink Crustose Coralline Alga.
These sculptures are, in my opinion, a new turn on artificial reefs. Artificial reefs are human made under-water structures.
Many artificial reefs are build using objects with other purposes. For example by sinking oil rigs, construction debris, concrete blocks, tires, wrecks,… Other artificial reefs are purposely build. Like this plane we were diving in Tulamben, Bali.
Artificial reefs provide hard surfaces, where algae, corals, oysters and barnacles attach. Accumulation of attached marine life provides structure and food for fish. Why not integrate art in these worldwide projects? Why not make under-water museums?!
The artist’s most ambitious work is “The Silent Evolution“, 9m deep, in Cancun, Mexico.
Since 2009, after several storms destroyed the reefs of “Cancun National Marine Parc” , they had a brilliant idea. They created an underwater museum! Off the coast of Isla Mujeres and Cancun. With as main goal, conservation. The museum holds over 400 life sized sculptures, made from that ph neutral clay and we can already observe the growth of coral reef and the attraction of marine life. Eventually these 400 persons will be totally assimilated by marine life.
Taylor works with Marine biologists. He uses the latest research to create habitats designed to attract specific forms of marine life.
On the other hand, every sculpture has a story, mostly related to the impact humans have had on our planet’s ecosystems and the effect to future generations.
The Anthropocene (2011), also called “Lobster city” is designed to attract crustaceans and is a life size replica of the Volksswagen Beetle.
Inercia (2011), the picture on the left, shows a man on a couch, he’s watching televion, ignorant of the environmental crisis. Nevertheless, the television is a habitat for juvenile fish.
The first video is from Scuba Diver Life. They dive a wreck and then the Underwater Museum.
This second video is from Jason Taylor, feel the artistic vibe! 🙂
As properly described on Jason deCaires Taylor’s website.
” On the efforts of man. The Art will develop, thanks to the effects of nature!”
Now, who wants to go? 🙂
Jason DeCaires website, Scuba Diver Life.