sculpture

sculpture

18ft Atlas sculpture dropped off to form incredible underwater art garden

27m ago
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Description

It looks like an underground world that would work well as a movie location. But the 18-foot-tall female Atlas sculpture kneeling on the ocean floor off the coast of the Bahamas is not the work of fiction. Part of The Sir Nicholas Nuttall Coral Reef Sculpture Garden, the artwork was created by Jason deCaires Taylor, who previously put 500 life-sized sculptures in the waters surrounding Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Punta Nizuc. Organised and curated by the Bahamas Reef Environment Education Foundation, the project aims to relieve pressure on natural reefs, which can be hotspots for environmentally-damaging tourism. Speaking exclusively to MailOnline Travel, Taylor said: 'It was one of the hardest commissions I have ever completed. Working on such a grand scale creates some very unique problems. 'The weight loading of 60 tonnes meant that the piece had to be created in sections and assembled underwater. Everything is a hundred times harder in the sea and getting precision parts together underwater was a huge challenge. 'The technique I used incorporated digital upscaling and a CNC routed mould which had never been done before in a marine environment, so it was the first time and quite nerve wracking. 'But I was very interested in working for a non-profit organisation that was completely dedicated to marine conservation.' 'Ocean Atlas' references the Ancient Greek sculpture of Titan Atlas holding the heavens but depicts a young local Bahamian girl sustaining the ceiling of the ocean. The largest sculpture ever to be deployed underwater it reaches from the sea floor five metres up to the surface and weighs over 60 tons. The sculpture, commissioned by Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation, aims to create an underwater sculpture garden in honour of its founder Sir Nicholas Nuttall and includes other works by local artists Willicey Tynes and Andret John. 'The coral reef sculpture garden can become a new environmental-friendly tourist and local attraction for The Bahamas once completed,' said BREEF executive director Casuarina McKinney-Lambert. 'The Coral Reef Sculpture Garden is the perfect fusion of art, education and marine conservation located in the world's most beautiful waters. By installing the eco-friendly artwork, beach-goers and snorkelers can now be redirected from natural reefs which will allow time for regeneration.' BREEF was founded in 1993 by the late Sir Nicholas Nuttall to focus on the education of Bahamian teachers about the environment and to address growing concerns on the state of The Bahamas' marine environment. Taylor is no stranger to underwater art. In 2006, he founded and created the world’s first underwater sculpture park. Situated off the coast of Grenada in the West Indies it is now listed as one of the Top 25 Wonders of the World by National Geographic. He also created MUSA (Museo Subacuatico de Arte), a monumental museum with a collection of over 500 of his sculptural works, submerged off the coast of Cancun, Mexico. The new work which during low tides will reflect a mirror image on the underside of the sea’s surface is a dramatic increase in scale from Taylor's previous works and ensures that even after substantial coral growth the figure will still remain recognizable. Following on from other projects the sculpture is constructed with sustainable materials and creates an artificial reef for marine life to colonise and inhabit, whilst drawing tourists away from over stressed natural reef areas. With our oceans and coral reefs currently facing collapse from numerous threats including; overfishing, ocean acidification, global warming and water pollution the piece symbolizes the burden we are currently asking future generations to carry and the collective responsibility we have to prevent its collapse.