underground sculptureWhat a beautiful idea. Weekly Masterpiece icon

British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor created The Molinere Underwater Sculpture Park, a collection of ecological underwater contemporary art located in the Caribbean sea off the west coast of Grenada, West Indies.

The coral reef around Grenada suffered damage from Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and Emily in 2005. It has been recorded that only 10-15% of the seabed has a substratum solid enough for natural reefs to row upon and it can take between 10 and 80 years for hard coral to develop. While it is predicted that up to 60% of natural coral reefs may be depleted by 2050. underground sculpture 2

The sculptures have been designed to promote coral growth using techniques to reduce the pH of the cement and by applying a textured surface. This encourages coral polyps to attach onto the surface and eventually the structure becomes a sanctuary for small marine life. Over time coral will change their appearance and the tides will enhance the texture applied bringing with it new inhabitants.

Taylor′s aim is to engage local people with the underwater environment. His works are derived from life casts of the local community. He installed cement figures onto the ocean floor, mostly consisting of a range of human forms, from solitary individuals to a ring of children holding hands, facing into the oceanic currents.

The Sculpture park, which began construction in 2006, is situated on the sandy ocean floor in the barren Molinere Bay and it now acts as an aid to relieve pressure on natural reefs which have become popular among water sports enthusiasts, particularly in nearby Flamingo Bay which is the most visited snorkeling destination on the island. There are over sixty-five concrete individual sculptures covering an area of over 800 square meters and in total weigh around 15 tons in dry cement.

Already Taylor’s sculptures have been shown to be a home to an array of aquatic life: including, flounders, parrot fish, Branded coral shrimp and fire worms.  Artificial reef constructions like Taylor’s are designed and constructed using resilient, stable and environmentally responsive materials. They are positioned in the ocean at the correct time of year to coincide with coral spawning, in an area that has suffered previous substantial decimation from storm damage. His works carry the aim of relieving the strain placed on the natural coral reef by human pollution, acidification, overfishing, by redirecting divers and snorkelers away from natural reefs to endorse the opportunity for repair and regeneration.

The sculpture park is easily accessible via boat from the main port of St Georges (2 miles/3 km North of the capital) or Grand Anse Bay on the West coastline. The sculptures are situated in a variety of depths of water with a maximum of 12 meters and the park is visited daily by scuba divers, snorkelers and glass bottom boats. Recently a local artist on the island has added new works to the sculpture park.

Cool Mona Note: Use your gift, people, use your gift.