English sculptor, Jason deCaires Taylor’s work can’t be found on the streets, instead you will find his sculptures at some of the only underwater museums around the world.
Taylor is a scuba diving instructor, underwater photographer, and an underwater conservationist, pairing all 3 of these passions Taylor came up with the idea for his underwater sculptures and museums.
Taylor opened his first underwater museum, located in Molinere Bay, Grenada, West Indies, in 2006. Shortly thereafter, Taylor opened up an even larger underwater museum called MUSA off the coast of Cancun, Mexico. Known as the world’s ‘largest underwater sculpture museum,’ MUSA offers a lot to look at–including 500 of Taylor’s extrodinary sculptures. Check out some of Taylor’s underwater sculpture collections here!
As an underwater conservationist, Taylor wanted to come up with a way to help the declining coral reef population. Which is exactly what his sculptures do, providing the perfect home for coral reefs to form. This removes some of the burdens from nature, and allows humans and marine life to work together for the greater good of all.
Coral reefs have always fascinated Taylor, as he spent his childhood swimming through Malaysia’s coastal coral reefs. His love for ocean life didn’t cease with age, instead it only grew.
Coral reefs attract all of the bottom-dwelling ocean life, the organisms that make their homes on any hard surface they can find. Coral reefs offer shelter to many underwater animals, including brightly colored fish, sea urchins, sponges, sea turtles, and even sharks. While so much ocean life thrives on coral reefs, only 10-15% of the ocean floor has substantial surfaces for coral reef formation.
After much anticipation, Taylor was pleased that the organisms were attracted to his artificially made coral reefs. And still to this day his artificial coral reefs seem to be flourishing wonderfully, offering assistance to the over burdened and far too rare natural coral reefs in the area.
With an abundance of new underwater real estate, the natural coral reefs have a chance to restore and repair for the first time in many years.
In the last 30 years the coral reef community has seen a decline in living conditions. With warmer waters, increased water pollution, over-fishing, and a number of other issues, coral reefs have taken a beating. Caribbean coral reefs are far less healthy than they once were, something Taylor would like to change with his underwater statues.
Coral is actually a cup-shapped animal with one hole that works as the mouth and anus. Coral takes in calcium carbonate from the water in order to develop a hard body that attaches to an equally hard surface.
Since sunlight is necessary, all coral reef development occurs no more than 200 feet below the surface. Coral grow incredibly slow, in one year they typically grow less than one inch.
Taylor graduated from the London Institute of Arts with a degree in sculpture, since then his statues have garnished much attention and his photographs have won many awards. But of course, his work is unique on so many levels.
The sculptures completely transform once they are left underwater and coral starts to develop. When he goes back to photograph his sculptures, nature has added her own special touches.
First and foremost, Taylor seeks to help the coral reef population with his sculptures. According to his official website he also hopes to “…encourage environmental awareness, instigate social change and lead us to appreciate the breathtaking natural beauty of the underwater world.”
Taylor is working on his next creations at a studio in Lanzarote, located in the Canary Islands.
Fun fact: August 12th marks Jason Taylor’s 40th birthday. Happy Birthday from all of us nature-lovers at earthporm, and thanks for making such incredible underwater sculptures!
Photo Credits: UnderwaterSculpture.com