For any artist, the ability to create a message and showcase a work for the world to see is the ultimate goal. But what if your finished work ends up displayed somewhere completely out of sight—like, at the bottom of the ocean? One artist has made a career of this method, putting his hyper-realistic sculpting work to use in a meaningful way by showcasing it in a location where few are likely to see it—because that’s the point.
Jason deCaires Taylor is more than just a gifted sculptor. For more than a decade, he has used his talents as a method of highlighting the need for conservation of the underwater world by crafting lifelike figures and submerging them below the sea’s surface. The results—as evidenced by the underwater museums he’s created in several continents—are startling, unnerving, and inspirational. And for his latest project, he’s utilizing the backdrop of one of the planet’s largest underwater ecosystems.
Working with the Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA), Taylor has crafted a deep-sea tableau designed to bring awareness to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral habitat.
Inspired by the continent’s youth community, Taylor’s first installation, “Coral Greenhouse,” features an eerie collection of humanlike sculptures—which, the artist hopes, will encourage younger generations to take better care of such underwater ecosystems.
Taylor’s other work for MOUA, “Ocean Siren,” is an interactive piece featuring a figure, modeled after a local indigenous girl from the Wulgurukaba tribe, emerging from the waves. What’s more, this triumphant piece also changes color—a feat accomplished by collaborations with scientists from James Cook University and the Australian Institute of Marine Science—based on the ocean’s temperature.
The works, as ever, are powerful; the message is strangely prescient. Do yourself a favor and dive into Taylor’s mind.