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The World’s Largest Underwater Sculpture Also Acts as an Artificial Reef

That one time dumping 60 tonnes of foreign material in the ocean was a good thing.

By Meg Watson
October 22, 2014
By Meg Watson
October 22, 2014

If we're to believe any film about pirates, famous shipwrecks or Pixar fish, there are a lot of secret treasures to be found on the ocean floor. But surely, none as grand as this. English sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor has just laid to rest one of his finest works in the Bahamas. Measuring in at over 5 metres tall and weighing a whopping 60 tonnes, this enormous and serene lady is officially the world's largest underwater sculpture.

Though it's hard to imagine that dumping 60 tonnes of foreign material in the ocean can be a good thing, this work, entitled Ocean Atlas, actually doubles as an artificial reef for marine life. The sculpture is made of long-lasting, pH-neutral marine cement and was created in consultation with the Bahamas Reef Environment Education Foundation. "[The work shows] the vital role the local community and especially the younger generation have in conserving the islands' natural resources," said the artist.

The artwork's name makes similar allusions to such environmental responsibilities. In Greek mythology, Atlas was condemned to hold the sky on his shoulders — an idea beautifully represented in the hunched female figure just below water level. As the tide draws in and out, locals are reminded of her constant watchful presence off their coastline.

Though Sydney in particular is familiar with sculptures by the sea, the idea of underwater sculpture is a bit of a novelty for us. But this artist has been pioneering the concept for nearly ten years; he now has hundreds of sculptures to be found all over the world's most idyllic beaches. His underwater sculpture park in Mexico even features over 400 life-size works — a glorious incentive to take diving lessons.

'Ocean Atlas', on the other hand, is a special case. She is so large she in fact had to be lowered into the ocean in separate portions. Being face to face with this work would be a completely unique experience. Even more so as she gathers spooky seaweed and marine life.

Don't be alarmed if you don't hear from us. We're booking flights to the Bahamas and stocking up on snorkelling gear ASAP.

Via Forbes and Daily Mail. Photos via Jason de Caires Taylor.

Published on October 22, 2014 by Meg Watson


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