Life imitates art, and art imitates life, but you know you have something really special when your art creates life. There are a handful of artists in recent history that have become adept with this medium, but none so proficiently as Jason de Caires Taylor. Born in 1974, de Caires Taylor spent his early life in parts of Europe and Asia, where he had the opportunity to explore Malaysia’s coral reefs. After graduating from the London Institute of Arts with a BA Honors in sculpture in 1998, he became a qualified SCUBA instructor and underwater naturalist, while developing his talent for sculpture on land. Throughout that time, the focus of his public art was “how objects change in response to their environment.”
This line of thinking is what led to the creation of Moilinere Bay, the world’s first underwater sculpture park in 2006. Located adjacent to the reefs of Grenada, this ambitious project saw the installation of 65 individual sculptures, many of which were cast from ordinary people. The sculptures themselves are comprised of marine-grade cement, sand, and micro-silica, which combined create a pH neutral concrete that encourages the growth of corals and other organisms. Some are implanted with coral fragments that would otherwise die on the seafloor, but much of the life that has flourished here is through the forces of nature and nothing more.
His works have been so well-received that another sculpture park was created off the coast of Cancun, Mexico, which contains roughly 450 sculptures, as well as two other installations in England. The service this kind of art provides is extraordinary on several levels, for the way it gently redirects pressure from human activity away from struggling coral reefs, while encouraging the growth of new life in a way that captivates the human imagination and increases awareness of the fragility of our reefs. His ongoing efforts to create a profound impact on the way the world sees marine conservation are admirable, and the beauty of his art undeniable. The footage below is of his works in the Bahamas, Mexico, and Grenada, spanning from 2006 to present, offering a stunning look at the evolution of reef life on his sculptures.
Image via Coventur DMC