Europe’s first underwater contemporary art museum, Museo Atlantico, is now open for public. Situated just off the coast of Lanzarote, in the Bahía de Las Coloradas, Canary Island in Spain, people have to dive 12 meters underwater to experience the amazing world. Its creator British Eco-sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor has installed more than 300 life-size human statues at the depth of 46 feet.
The museum’s submerged sculptures will serve as an artificial reef for fish and other sea life, giving a break to heavily trafficked natural reefs and helping replenish an ecosystem that’s been worked over by erosion.
The project consist 12 art installation and more than 300 life-size human figures created by Taylor. Taylor is a renowned British artist whose sculpture weighing about 60 tonnes was installed in the waters of Bahamas back in 2014. The sculpture is one of the largest to be erected underwater.
Though the museum officially opened on 10th January, the pictures and buzz about the extraordinary project has been doing rounds on social media for about a year. The first phase of this unique museum was deployed by Taylor in February 2016.
It has been constructed 14 metres below the sea level under the Atlantic waters. Spanning for about 2500 square metres, it can be visited by scuba divers or by glass bottomed boats. A 30-metre-long, 100-ton wall has been erected using Ph neutral materials that aim to create a healthy environment for local fish species.
‘The sculptures in specific portray the differences between past and present.’, Mr. Taylor said during the inauguration. He also added saying that the museum would provide an insight into the integral part played by marine bodies in our lives.
About $9 for snorkelers and $13 for divers (not including gear) gets you an hour with the sculptures, which convey urgent messages about the state of our oceans.
The artist began work on this project three years ago. Some of the sculpture are based on local people while another is called ‘The Raft of Lampedusa’. It is there to make a statement about the refugee crisis. All of the artwork has been crafted from high quality marine cement which is guaranteed to survive in the depths for 300 years. The concrete doesn’t affect the marine ecosystem or local flora and fauna.
Museo Atlántico has been conceived as a place to promote education, and preserve and protect the marine and natural environment as an integral part of the system of human values. The project is designed in a conversational manner so as to create a large-scale pH-neutral artificial reef that the local fish species and marine biomass can go on to habitat and feed off of.
The works incorporate for the first time large architectural components and an underwater botanical sculpture garden referencing local flora of Lanzarote, which has a unique status as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.
The new installations opened for public viewing include 35 figures walking towards a gateway in a 30-metre-long, 100-tonne wall. The work, titled the Crossing the Rubicon, is ‘intended to be a monument to absurdity, a dysfunctional barrier in the middle of a vast fluid, three-dimensional space, which can be bypassed in any direction,’ said Taylor.
“In times of increasing patriotism and protectionism, the wall aims to remind us that we cannot segregate our oceans, air, climate or wildlife as we do our land and possessions,” deCairnes Taylor said in a press release.
From ‘Immortal Pyre’ and ‘The Human Gyre’ that consists of 207 real-size human figurines, to ‘The Portal’, a unique water within water installation — the artworks are breathtaking. With an effort of almost three years and help from local communities, this project is beyond art, it’s all about diversity and conservation.
“The work aims to mark 2017 as a pivotal moment, a line in the sand and reminder that our world’s oceans and climate are changing and we need to take urgent action before its too late,” he added.
The artist has inaugurated several other museums of the same kind. Some of them include the ‘MUSA’ in Mexico in 2009 and the ‘Molinere Bay Underwater Sculpture Park’ in the Caribbean in 2006.