Jason deCaires Taylor (previously) is a sculptor, environmentalist and underwater photographer who places his public artworks at the bottom of the ocean in locations scattered across the globe.
The gleaming statue is just one of four projects that make up the Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA). Another installation lies at the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, about two hours from Townsville by boat.
“Coral Greenhouse” at the John Brewer Reef is MOUA’s largest installation. The submerged site was chosen for its clear visibility, natural coral walls and sandy, flat base. The installation was completed in December 2019 and was scheduled to open this month, but due to coronavirus-related restrictions in Queensland, the opening date has been postponed. When it launches, tour operators will take divers and snorkelers to explore the art project located around 60 feet under the sea.
Within the installation’s 40-foot-long skeletal structure, which was designed to dissipate the ocean’s strong undercurrents, are 20 statues of students working with coral.
“When we talk about reefs, we’re very much talking about what we’re leaving for younger generations,” explained Taylor. “I also wanted to encourage more youth into marine science and into exploring and understanding the underwater world. Plus, I wanted the local communities — school students, especially — to become ambassadors for the reef, almost like guardians with a keen interest in how it evolves.”