25th July 2019
The Great Barrier Reef will soon be home to its very own underwater museum.
Opening on December this year, the Museum of Underwater Art will assist in spreading environmental awareness, shape public debate, as well as help regenerate the natural reefs.
Created by British environmentalist Jason deCaires Taylor, the museum is similar to previous works created in Grenada, Cancun, Lanzarote and the Bahamas.
In recent years, the Great Barrier Reef has suffered mass coral bleaching which has threatened the life expectancy of the reef. Together with global warming and rising water temperatures, coral regeneration is needed more than ever.
Speaking to the Guardian, sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor stated “Our oceans are going through rapid change, and there are huge threats, from rising sea temperatures to acidification, and a large amount of pollution entering the system.”
The first installation will be located just offshore of Townsville. The ‘Ocean Siren” statue will be off an Indigenous girl who will be visible from land during low tide and underwater during low tide. Completely solar powered, the sculpture will showcase real time water temperature charts and act as a warning sign of the dangers of climate change.
Other upcoming installations will include a large-scale underwater Coral Greenhouse that will house over 2,000 corals from marine nurseries. The installation will help to regenerate the marine ecosystem and provide a safe environment for coral to grow.
“It will be installed just prior to coral spawning so will provide a new clean surface area for coral larvae to attach to,” said deCaires Taylor.
“New species are being trialled including a range of temperature-resilient strains. The sculptures themselves are all made from a ph-neutral marine cement with a textured surface to help settlement. From past experience, works have begun to be colonised within a matter of days.”
Both installations speak directly to the climate change crisis and will hopefully have a lot of impact on the Australian public, as well as visitors from across the globe.
“Part of creating an underwater museum is about changing our value systems – thinking about the sea floor as something sacred, something that we should be protecting and not taking for granted,” deCaires Taylor said.