The concept of artificial reefs is not a new one. Indeed, there are countless numbers of man-made reefs around the world, some the sad consequence of maritime or aeronautical accidents and others that are planned. In fact, governments around the world have found the ocean to be an ideal resting place for their hardware – ships, tanks and railway carriages have all found their way to the sea floor in the cause of conservation.
See: Artificial Reefs
But an interesting development in recent years has been the creation of sculptures – works of art – that serve the same function; to provide a physical structure for corals to grow on. One leading artist at the forefront of such work is Jason deCaires Taylor. His latest creation, now rests on the sea floor off the western coastline of New Providence in Nassau, Bahamas.
Towering nearly 17-feet-tall and weighing nearly 60 tonnes, the latest sculpture is entitled ‘Ocean Atlas’. It depicts a young Bahamian girl supporting the ceiling of the water on her shoulders. During low tide, her reflection appears on the underside of the sea’s surface, creating an illusion of a mirror for divers.
The work alludes to Atlas, the Titan of Greek mythology whose eternal punishment of holding the world on his back has inspired artistic renditions for centuries. Its texture is designed to aid coral polyps to attach to its surface after spawning, encourages the colonization of reefs.
Commissioned by the Bahamas Reef Environment Education Foundation (BREEF) in honor of its founder Sir Nicholas Nuttall, “Ocean Atlas” is part of an ongoing, environmentally friendly underwater sculpture garden that also includes works by local artists Willicey Tynes, Andret John, and Reefball.
The pictures below show the marvellous sculpture being lowered in place and the unique aura that it transmits off underwater:
[More Information: Jason deCaires Taylor
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