Jason deCaires Taylor has been taking art off the walls of gallery and bringing it into nature for ten years – allowing viewers an opportunity to discover and participate in his glorious creations.
Jason has just completed working on his contemporary art museum – an astonishing first of its kind Museo Atlantico – the first underwater museum in the Atlantic Ocean in Europe. Off the coast of Lanzarote, Spain, his latest in a series of projects is designed on a conversational level to create a large scale artificial reef.
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Among the notable exhibits, the Raft of Lampedusa depicts 13 refugees headed on a perilous journey to uncertainty.
Taylor’s sculptures are constructed to be assimilated by the ocean and transformed from inert objects into living breathing coral reefs. His art provides a multi-sensual experience like no other – vivid and intimate. With over 75 per cent of the world’s reefs at risk, Taylor’s creations take the pressure off natural reefs which, over the past few decades, have been over-fished and over-visited.
Born in 1974 to an English father and Guyanese mother, Taylor grew up in Europe and Asia, where he spent much of his early childhood exploring the coral reefs of Malaysia. Taylor graduated from the London Institute of Arts in 1998 with a BA Honours in Sculpture and went on to become a fully qualified diving instructor and underwater naturalist.
With over 20 years diving experience under his belt, Taylor is also an award winning underwater photographer, famous for his dramatic images, which capture the metamorphosing effects of the ocean on his evolving sculptures.
With his reality defying underwater sculptures, the audience experiences a sense of surrealism – perception distorted by the the kaleidoscopic effects of light, lack of gravity and sound.
The sculptures are designed with ph neutral materials, textured surfaces that draw organisms, create breeding areas for corals, sponges, hydroids, increasing overall reef biomass and aggregating fish species which in turn can support an entire ecosystem.
In 2006, Taylor founded and created the world’s first underwater sculpture park. Situated off the west coast of Grenada in the West Indies it is now listed as one of the Top 25 Wonders of the World by National Geographic and was instrumental in the creation of a National Marine Protected Area by the local Government. 800 sq meter Moilinere bay is home to 81 of Taylor’s sculptures, designed also as a diversion from the local reef, endangered by overuse.
In 2009 he co-founded MUSA (Museo Subacuático de Arte), a monumental underwater museum with a collection of over 500 of his sculptural works, submerged off the coast of Cancun, Mexico. Each of the sculptures is made from specialized materials that promote coral growth. with over 750,000 visitors per year, the 420 sq meter museum is open to both divers and snorkelers.
During the summer of 2014 Taylor submerged “Ocean Atlas” in the Bahamas, which is currently the largest single underwater sculpture in the world measuring 5 meters high and weighing over 60 tons. The installation aims to create an underwater sculpture garden, with an artificial reef for marine life.
Taylor’s pioneering projects are not only examples of successful marine conservation, but works of art that seek to encourage environmental awareness, instigate social change and lead us to appreciate the breathtaking natural beauty of the underwater world.
Many of the sculptures aim to spur debate about human role in the planet, and highlight our apathy. His work has led to empowerment of local communities, helped create a new era of ecotourism – travel with cultural and environmental awareness.
To learn more about Jason deCaires Taylor and his inspiring work, visit underwatersculpture.com