In a Southern Hemisphere first, Australia now holds an underwater museum of art complete with sculptures you can actually visit.
Placed across the Great Barrier Reef with installations off the shores of Townsville, at Palm Island, and Magnetic Island, this has been three years in the making by one Jason deCaires Taylor.
The first instalment is 30 metres offshore from The Strand jetty in Townsville. Dubbed Ocean Siren, it changes in response to the water’s temperature. Ocean Siren has been sculpted in the likeness of Takoda Johnson, one of the area’s more prolific traditional custodians from the Wulgurukaba nation.
Yet another instalment can be found on the John Brewer Reef. Dubbed Coral Greenhouse, this one sits approximately 20 metres below the water surface made from 58 tonnes of “stainless steel, neutral marine-grade cement, and zinc anodes”. Inside, you’ll find twenty sculptures of school children made to withstand both cyclones as well as your run-of-the-mill wave pressures.
So what exactly is the point of all of this? Aside from the general injection of culture, deCaires Taylor has undertaken this massive endeavour to highlight the reef itself, as well as to educate the general population. Thereby moving the dial on support/action for conservation and restoration. Or at least that’s the hope.
The installations are still coming, with an expected completion date of late 2020. Once fully operational, it is projected to attract some 50,000 visitors a year.
Find out more below.