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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

The Whitsundays Is Now Home to an Underwater Art Trail

Four underwater sculptures are now in place in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, with two more to come.
By Sarah Ward
August 03, 2019
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The Whitsundays Is Now Home to an Underwater Art Trail

Four underwater sculptures are now in place in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, with two more to come.
By Sarah Ward
August 03, 2019
  shares

Already one of the most scenic areas in Australia, the Whitsundays is giving visitors something else to look at: an installation of underwater and inter-tidal art. As part of the Whitsundays Reef Recovery and Public Art Project, six artists have created six artworks that sit beneath the sea, with the first four sculptures now in place.

If you're heading to Blue Pearl Bay, Manta Ray Bay or Langford Spit, you can now check out the new attractions, as created by artists Brian Robinson, Col Henry and Adriaan Vanderlugt. Set up on Manta Ray Bay, Robinson's Migration of the Mantas is made from concrete and stainless steel, spans four metres by six metres and depicts six large manta rays, while Henry's Turtle Dream fashions a hawksbill turtle out of 15 tonnes of stainless steel at Langford Spit. As for Vanderlugt, he has two pieces in place: Maori Wrasse, which towers nearly four metres high in Blue Pearl Bay, and Manta Ray in Manta Ray Bay featuring indigenous markings from the Ngaro people, the Whitsundays' traditional owners.

They'll soon be joined by another sculpture from Robinson, called Bywa, with the intertidal piece retelling a Dreamtime story about the reef, creation and marine life. It'll be put in place in Horseshoe Bay in Bowen later this month.

Completing the set is a collaboration by Caitlin Reilly, Jessa Lloyd and Kate Ford, from the Arts Based Collective. Dubbed Anthozoa and headed to Blue Pearl Bay by late September, it "not only performs aesthetically in its sculptural form, but importantly doubles as a site for reef restoration," Lloyd explained when their piece was commissioned last year. "As the underwater form matures, visitors snorkelling and diving the site will see a sculpture festooned with a myriad of coral species, tentacles encrusted with soft and hard corals, marine animals sheltering in and peeking from small holes."

Lauren Vadnjal

Selected from 73 expressions of interest, the sculptures all sit in spots accessible to snorkelers and scuba divers — should you need something else to look at, other than marine life, on your next underwater adventure.

Other than celebrating creativity, the Whitsundays Reef Recovery and Public Art Project aims give the region a new attraction, unsurprisingly. "This artwork will provide a new experience for people travelling to the Whitsundays and will help the marine tourism industry recover after Cyclone Debbie," said Queensland Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones in a statement in 2018. "Around the world — from the Caribbean, to the Maldives, Spain, Bali and Australia's west coast — underwater art has been used to lure visitors."

Top image: Tourism and Events Queensland. 

Published on August 03, 2019 by Sarah Ward

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