Dive into this underwater museum to learn about art and ocean conservation

  • Arts
  • Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020

A sculpture by Jason deCaires Taylor seen below the depths at the Museum of Underwater Art in Australia. Photo: Museum of Underwater Art

The Museum of Underwater Art in Townsville, Australia, which opened last month, has been created as a call to action for ocean conservation.

The museum’s exhibits are located at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park’s John Brewer Reef, sitting on the ocean floor 18m under water.

“When we talk about reefs, we’re very much talking about what we’re leaving for younger generations, ” said sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, who created one of the museum’s exhibits "Coral Greenhouse".

“I also wanted to encourage more youth into marine science and into exploring and understanding the underwater world.”

Coral Greenhouse consists of a 64-tonne art piece with a 12m skeletal structure with 20 statues of students working with coral as well as three sculptures of local flora such as eucalyptus and umbrella palm, reported Travel And Leisure. The pieces were built with corrosion-resistant stainless steel and pH-neutral cement compounds which will stimulate natural coral growth.

Taylor also hopes that the exhibit will be a refuge for animals such as sea urchins and octopuses.

“The beam sections provide minimal resistance to wave energy, while providing an ideal surface for filter-feeding organisms and schooling fish to congregate, ” said Taylor to The Guardian.

The exhibit was finalised last December and was set to open to divers and snorkelers in April before the coronavirus pandemic escalated.

The Museum of Underwater Art has three other exhibits, including Ocean Siren, the only one visible from above water, a 4.8m tall depiction of 12-year-old Townsville local and Wulgurukaba Traditional Owner Takoda Johnson.

Installed in December, the sculpture’s LED lights change colour depending on the water temperature of the Davies Reef, with blue indicating safe and dark red meaning critical.

The other two exhibits of the museum are scheduled for completion in 2021, namely Palm Island in June and Magnetic Island in December. – The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

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