The Great Barrier Reef is getting an underwater museum
He’s introduced underwater sculptures off the coast of Indonesia, the Maldives, and the Canary Islands, and now, artist Jason deCaires Taylor is bringing his unique vision to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Set to open in December, the new Museum of Underwater Art is the sculptor’s first major project in the southern hemisphere, and it will feature inter-tidal and fully submerged pieces that evolve with the water’s ebb and flow. The installations will be staggered throughout Queensland, with galleries in Townsville, Magnetic Island, Palm Island, and the Great Barrier Reef region.
The first piece, slated to debut in December, is “5m Ocean Siren” is a solar-powered sculpture of an indigenous girl that changes color with the water temperatures, using data from atmospheric weather stations on the reef.
For its second phase, the museum will introduce the "Coral Greenhouse,” a 12-meter-high underwater structure, surrounded by sea-scaping and comprising nurseries, organic stems, and more. At once an art space and an underwater educational center, the greenhouse is designed to be a liveable habitat for marine life, its skeletal structure providing the optimal conditions for coral to grow and thrive.
Both pieces speak clearly to the crisis of climate change and reflect the artist’s determination to convey the urgency of that situation to a wider audience. “Our oceans are going through rapid change, and there are huge threats, from rising sea temperatures to acidification, and a large amount of pollution entering the system,” deCaires Taylor told the Guardian. “Part of creating an underwater museum is about changing our value systems – thinking about the sea floor as something sacred, something that we should be protecting and not taking for granted.”