Next time you're in Cancun, take a day off from the usual distractions to view something truly amazing: more than 400 life-sized figures, sculpted from concrete and rebar, congregated together on the sea bottom.
Created by artist Jason deCaires Taylor, the sculptures, known collectively as The Silent Evolution, make up a new underwater art museum located in The National Marine Park of Cancun, Mexico. The Museo Subacuático de Arte (MUSA) will use the sculptures to create artificial reefs for marine life to colonize and inhabit.
Since the National Marine Park of Cancun attracts over 750,000 visitors each year, the existing natural reefs are under huge pressure. By creating this sculptural artificial reef, tourists will be drawn to the new attraction, allowing the natural reefs to recover and regenerate. The sculpture reef is located in clear shallow waters to afford easy access by divers, snorkelers and those in glass-bottomed boats, who can book tours through Aqua World.
I had the chance to ask Jason a few questions last week about his work, including how he finds motivation for the overwhelming work he has in front of him with reef restoration. Jason offered, "It is very easy to become overwhelmed as coral reefs face so many different challenges. I try to focus each step at a time and am a real believer that change sometimes only requires the smallest of movement to gather momentum and snowball into something greater."
Keep reading to find out what else Jason has to say and to see more photos from the new sculpture park.
The underwater museum is situated in the waters surrounding Cancun, Isla Mujeres, and Punta Nizuc. Besides the 400 permanent sculptures created by Jason, the museum will also feature work by other local and international artists.
When I asked Jason how he hoped that Cancun's tourist population will be changed by interacting with the underwater museum, he said, "Cancun is not particularly known for its environmental awareness to put it mildly, I hope that this installation can highlight some of the amazing natural processes and ecosystems that are evident on the Mesoamerican reef which runs off the coast. Helping to bring reef issues to the forefront such as water pollution, global warning, overfishing, and ocean acidification. One of the greatest dangers facing this region is issues with water quality, which is something that can be directly changed by the population residing here."
Jason's work has been featured in National Geographic, Vogue, the BBC, and CNN, among other publications and news outlets. He created his first underwater sculpture park four and a half years ago in Grenada, West Indies.
The official inauguration of MUSA will be in December. For more photos and information on this project, be sure to check out Jason's website.