Haunting yet captivating – Europe’s first underwater museum is now open

Haunting yet captivating – Europe’s first underwater museum is now open

What a sight

Text: Gwen Ong

Image: Jason deCaires Taylor

The Museo Atlántico lays 14 metres underneath the Atlantic Ocean on the south coast of Lanzarote, Spain

British artist, Jason deCaires Taylor has achieved another monumental peak in his career with the opening of the first underwater museum in Europe. Featuring over 300 sculptural works, Museo Atlántico, which can be explored by scuba divers or from glass-bottomed boats, took him over three years to put together.

The site covers an area of 2,500 square-metres where the sculptures touch on "the dialogue between past and present and the divisions within society". Jason's installations were created entirely with pH neutral materials so as to facilitate the ecosystem in the Unesco-designated World Biosphere Reserve. Each underwater artwork is meant to promote environmental awareness and social change.

A particular poignant piece is called 'Crossing the Rubicon' in which 35 figures are seen "walking" towards a gateway of a 30-metre long and 100-tonne wall. The work "aims to mark 2017 as a pivotal moment, a line in the sand and reminder that our world's oceans and climate are changing and we need to take urgent action before it's too late,"

"Notions of ownership and territories are irrelevant to the natural world. In times of increasing patriotism and protectionism, the wall aims to remind us that we cannot segregate our oceans, air, climate or wildlife as we do our land and possessions. We forget we are all an integral part of a living system at our peril," he said.

This is not Jason's first underwater showcase. In 2006, the artist launched the first of its kind underwater museum – the Molinere Bay Underwater Sculpture Park in Grenada in the Carribean while the Museo Subacuático de Arte off the waters of Cancun and Isla Mujeres in Mexico was opened in 2009.



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