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April 2, 2010

Our Planet Matters: Coral People – Underwater sculptures used to protect the reefs

Dive Into Art!

I was looking at Eco Ideas Net, which I talked about last week, and found this great story. Jason De Caires Taylor has created an underwater sculpture park in Cancun. He takes full-size casts of local people and turns them into installation art which is a tourist attraction for divers as well as a way to educated the wider community about the issues represented. 400 scupltures will be installed by the end of the project.

The artist has a website about his artwork called Underwater Sculpture which you can also visit to see more of his work.

Vicissitudes - 26 Statues, Depth 4.5 metres, West Indies

This sculpture, called ‘Vicissitudes’, was the one that caught my eye first. Symbolically, it says a range of things to me – the people are in a circle holding hands – so, working together to protect that which they are made of – in this case – materials that support coral growth. They are facing outwards, giving the impression that they are protecting the reef, as they are also looking in many directions at once. Thirdly, they are children or young people – saying to me something about protecting this fragile underwater environment for future generations, as well as teaching children about the importance of these eco-systems to the bio-diversity of Earth.

I also think about the casts taken from the hollows of Pompeii and remember the time my Mum did a clay cast of me and how at that time I discovered I did not enjoy being immobilised under clay, especially when a spider walked past. I have however had my preggy belly cast since then, but not my face – no siree! I can’t imagine having a full body cast done…

Cancun’s famous coral reef is under environmental stress because of its popularity among divers. These underwater sculptures draw divers away from the reef. The sculptures are made of special materials that promote growth of new coral.

You can see the underwater world starting to consume the sculptures...

As someone with an art background, I thought the idea of sculptures displayed underwater was a very clever way to draw attention to the plight of our global coral reefs. There is a whole range of scultures scattered around the area for the divers to explore and find, keeping them away from the sensitive reefs in the area.

Here’s the comment I added to the article:

I like the idea of using art in a functional way like this to draw attention to the plight of the coral reefs. That they become part of the system and contribute to promoting more coral growth is great – scuttled ships have been used this way for years, what a great idea to create another form of diving experience for underwater tourists to explore!

There is also a short video about the story, showing a range of sculptures. I’d certainly recommend checking out the gallery at his website, Underwater Sculpture.

Visit ‘Dive into Art’…

Creator of My Green Nappy

A question for you about these underwater sculptures:

Looking at ‘Vicissitudes’, what does it make you think of?


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by David, SCUBA junkie . SCUBA junkie said: Our Planet Matters: Coral People – Underwater sculptures used to …: Cancun's famous coral reef is under environm… […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention Our Planet Matters: Coral People – Underwater sculptures used to protect the reefs - My Green Nappy -- — April 2, 2010 @ 8:27 am

  2. What a truly inspiring piece of art. The themes of life and death speak loudly. The figures are frozen in life, yet deathly-still; creating a human chain as if to protect something in their midst, in this case the coral reef, even as it consumes them.

    I love that the artist is using distraction as a technique to discourage destructive behavior, just as we redirect the attention of a rampaging toddler. It’s a brilliant example of thinking outside the square, and a disturbingly beautiful sculpture.

    Comment by Lara from Extremely Nappies — April 2, 2010 @ 6:48 pm

  3. I’m in awe looking at that piece of art. I love the different colours – it actually makes me feel very cool and relaxed!

    Comment by Bec — April 3, 2010 @ 11:42 am

  4. This is totally awesome! I love it and what a wonderful way to promote awareness for the coral reef which needs protecting. It is like we are coming together..underwater, how awesome!

    Comment by Sabrina — April 4, 2010 @ 9:00 pm

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