Saturday, August 20, 2011

Amazing Ocean Sculptures In Isla Mujeres | 10 Dec 2009 | Deep under the seas of the Mexican Caribbean these statues look like relics of an ancient civilisation.

However this is not a forgotten lost race, but the beginnings of what will be the world's largest underwater sculpture museum.

Located in the National Marine Park, on the west coast of Isla Mujeres, Punta Cancun and Punta Nizuc, these life size sculptures are the first of 400 that will be laid on the seabed over the next 13 months.

The project is the brainchild of Jaime Gonzalez Cano of The National Marine Park, Roberto Diaz of The Cancun Nautical Association and renowned British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor.

Designed to celebrate the region's Mayan history it is hoped the underwater museum will heighten environmental awareness in the area, by creating an artificial reef in the hurricane hit region.

Laying the first three sculptures this December, the project has been 18 months in the making.

'It has been very challenging,' revealed 35-year-old Jason.
'It has taken about one-and-a-half years to plan, so to see the sculptures going in is great. It's wonderful seeing the fruits of all the labour.'

Using cranes and divers to submerge and place the sculptures, Jason has created three durable installations that will have a non-detrimental effect to the local eco-system.

La Jardinera de la Esperanza (The Gardener of Hope), El Coleccionista de los sueqos perdidos (The Archive of Lost Dreams) and Hombre en Llamas (Man on Fire) sit several metres below the surface.

Including propagated coral, it is hoped the sculptures will attract juvenile algae that will give the statues radiant colours.

The laying of the sculptures saw the completion of phase one of the project for the team.

Phase two will see the laying of a further 400 figurative sculptures. Casts for the these statues will be made from the local Mexican population.

Entitled, La Evolucisn Silenciosa (The Silent Evolution), the huge park is due to be completed by the end of 2010.

In total, phases one and two will cost an initial $450,000 US (£277,000).

The project has brought about its own unique challenges.
Jason said: 'We have to work out how the sculptures will fit on the seabed, how we lower them in and how the current affects them.

'The other major challenge is the fact you do not view them from the same angle as normal sculptures.

'Usually you are looking at eye level, but underwater you are above them and floating around the sides of them, so you have to think about how it will look from all angles.'

With phase one now complete, Jason is already working away on phase two of the project.

If successful, Jason hopes the third and final phase of the project will see the creation of an independent trust and committee to manage the museum and commission new sculptures by local artists.

Acting as the museum's artistic director, Jason hopes the underwater museum will create an environmental awareness for the area.

'The feedback has been really good,' said Jason. 'It is proving very popular not only with divers but snorkellers and people in glass bottom boats.

'As well as providing enjoyment, I am trying to create environmental awareness. There are messages about our interaction with the natural world.'

Watch on this video: (Nino Guevara Ruwano)


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