Saving the Ocean Through Art


Calista Freeland, Editor/Writer

Recently, a new exhibit has been built in the ocean that is designed to attract marine life. It opened in July off the coast of Ayia Napa, Cyprus. With a budget of 1.1 million dollars, the forest of statues, some weighing up to 13 tons, span a distance of 550 feet across the ocean floor and reach a depth of 33 feet. Named MUSAN (Museum of Underwater Sculpture Ayia Napa), the exhibit contains 93 statues that visitors can swim through and explore. Some of the designs include children, balloons and faux kelp- all created by artist Jason deCaires Taylor.

A person swims through the underwater scultpures.

These beautiful works of art have a function beyond emphasizing ideas like exploring the natural world. In addition, they attract marine life, which is essential to revitalizing the rapidly depleted ecosystems of the Mediterranean Sea. This environment has seen significant population decreases across various species throughout the last 20 years. The exhibit is located in a section of protected areas in hopes that the stationary pH-neutral materials will invite more wildlife to the area. The art is designed to provide an environment that allows plants and animals to cover the artwork, allowing for an ever-changing and interactive landscape. There has already been significant success as described by deCaires Taylor to CNN Travel. “They’re designed to sort of let natural growth settle on the substrate…after five or six days, I could already see a thin film of algae on each of the heads of the sculptures, which have these quite complex habitat areas, and they were already full with little juvenile fish. So that was very, very encouraging. I’m really looking forward to going back in a couple of months time and seeing how it aggregates marine life.” de Caires Taylor reports.

A crane lowers sculpture into the water.

The statues were placed using a crane, which resulted in dramatic and beautiful images that are as “groundbreaking” as the art concept itself.

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This exhibit is an example of another way that people are coming up with eco friendly ways to explore human traditions. It is no secret that our planet is suffering from the effects of global warming, which not only affects terrestrial animals, but marine life as well. Through his art, Jason deCaires Taylor hopes to promote the idea of exploring nature and saving the environment. Oftentimes, children today are more absorbed with the virtual world that social media and video games provides than the experience provided by nature. Everyone needs an escape from everyday life, and the imagery of children playing in the ocean aims to encourage future generations to explore nature and care about the well-being of marine life.A crane lowers a sculpture.A diver swims through the underwater sculptures.Images of the submerged sculptures.Taylor hopes to put the focus on "re-wilding our natural spaces" and "re-reforesting areas of barren habitat".03 Museum of Underwater Sculpture Ayia Napa RESTRICTED


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