Gallery of sculptures under the Mediterranean Sea, depicting citizens of its sea banks, decrying ongoing human destruction of its ecosystem
All of these careful considerations go into each of deCaires Taylor sculptural installations, yet there are further benefits to his artificially created sculptural reefs, as while each work is produced in consultation with marine scientists to maximise their impact, the scientists themselves can study and monitor the development of a functioning ecosystem from its very beginning through to becoming well established
The museum has no fee, and is open to anyone in the public willing to snorkel or dive down to see the sculptures
Source: Jason deCaires Taylor
Made of pH-neutral cement, these six sculptures depict portraits of locals who live in Cannes, from children to senior citizens. Funded by the city’s mayoral office and town hall, it took four years to complete. The aim is to draw attention to the declining state of the world’s oceans, as the Mediterranean, once ripe fishing grounds, is overflowed with pollution and suffers from overfishing.
Now, the French Riviera area is a safe site for snorkelers (boats aren’t permitted near the sculptures) and, in turn, it will hopefully help replenish the deteriorated Posidonia seagrass meadows. “This kind of seagrass is known as ‘the lungs of the world,’ as it produces an incredible amount of oxygen,”
Using live purple Gorgonian fan coral, which had been displaced and rescued from the reef system after recent storm activity, the “Resurrection” represents a female-avian form emerging from the seabed. The winged armature houses specially designed clamps for fan coral and its orientation towards the currents maximizes the coral's potential to draw nutrients from the water column.
The placement of sculptures is further carefully considered to maximise positive environmental impact. In many cases deCaires Taylor’s sculptures are placed away from existing reefs often in areas of barren sandbanks to boost diversity, but also to draw tourists away from the delicate ecosystems and fragile corals of existing reefs, where divers may do more harm than good with their well-intentioned curiosity.