Underwater Sculpture Park - breathtaking beauty and vision
Some of the most beautiful places on earth are under water. The noise of the world is muted, and you tune into the subtler sounds of the sea. It is a magical, mystical place that I feel very privileged to explore.
One of the most impressive things I have ever seen is an enhancement to the beauty of the underwater world. It is an underwater sculpture gallery, in Grenada, created by global artist Jason deCaires Taylor. Designed to evolve with the sea, each statue is both beautiful and otherworldly. I was lucky enough to sit down and talk with Jason about his work.
WE: What started you in scuba diving and exploring the underwater world?
JT: I spent a large portion of youth living close to the sea in Malaysia. This early interaction formed my love for the ocean. Later on I then trained as a Dive instructor on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and also became a underwater naturalist instructor. Most of my artwork has always stemmed from documenting an objects interaction with its environment so it only seemed like the natural conclusion to combine these two lifetime passions.
WE: What led you to a career in art?
JT: I come from family with strong artistic roots and have always been encouraged to follow the career of my choice. Art and in particular sculpture has always been a life long passion of mine.
WE: How did you start to create underwater sculpture?
JT: I chose to start producing works underwater for many reasons, firstly I wanted to create artwork which had specific environmental goals, I became disillusioned with constructing works to decorate gallery walls and homes. I wanted to also show how man's interventions could create a positive impact on our planet and symbolize a sustainable future.
A marine environment is also full of unique challenges and unpredictable responses which I find extremely interesting and exciting.
Here is a part of one sculpture, and shown again 6 months later...
WE: What has been the reaction of people, when they see your work?
JT: I have been extremely overwhelmed by the response from visitors, many people liken it to an archaeological experience, some people find it spooky and bizarre while others describe a euphoric and highly personal encounter.
WE: Where are you looking for future projects? What makes a site meaningful or useful to you?
JT: Most of the sites I look at, are mainly from a practical angle. The sea can produce immense forces which can damage the sculptures. Most of the work goes into finding locations with shelter and suitable substrate. Regions with a particular strong history and identity also add to the impact of the work.
WE: What are your favorite parts of creating this sculpture and placing it underwater?
JT: Most of the practical side is extremely labour intensive, most people think working in tropical locations is like a holiday, when in reality it is more of a construction project. My favourite part is the documentation, photographing and filming the work. It is really exciting looking at the ecological changes and atmospheres created by different weather patterns.
WE: Who do you use for your models?
JT: I am always looking for volunteers to cast or model for the sculptures, I aim to find people from ordinary walks of life, of various backgrounds and age. People where their character and form help describe where they are from. If any of your members live in or will be in London, please look me up!
WE: I love that the sculptures are growing barnacles and hosting sea life - was that a vision for you, to create a totally organic sea project?
JT: All my work is about change and forming sculptures that mirror the evolutions of our lives. I always wanted to encourage the development of Marine life and subsequently many of the designs and materials have this mind. My next body of work is actually taking this one step further and I hope to be able to take cuttings from damaged corals and implant them onto a structure, using the growth to create the shape and form.
WE: What medium do you create the sculptures from? I see that after time, each sculpture changes with the sea growth!
JT: Mainly building cement which has been modified to promote coral growth. Also stainless steel and fibre glass resin.
WE: Tell us a little bit about Grenada.
JT: Moilinere bay is now home to sixty-five sculptures, covering an area of 800sq metres. It is located two miles north of the capital St Georges on the west coast of the island, within an area designated a National Marine Park. The bay is enclosed by rock headlands and has a small beach in one corner. Within the Bay the sea ranges in depth from 0- 25m. It can be reached by land, by walking down to Dragon bay and following the beach down in a southerly direction. It is roughly a 10 minute boat ride from St Georges and 15 minutes from Grand Anse.
Moiliniere Bay suffered considerable storm damage in recent years and the placement of an artificial structure has provided a new base for marine life to proliferate. The sculptures were also designed to create a diversion from other areas of coral reef currently endangered by over use from water actvities.
WE: Where do you suggest that visitors stay?
JT: When staying in Grenada, The Underwater Galley would highly recommend Blue Bay lodge. Located on the West coast, near the small fishing town of Gouyave. It offers an excellent opportunity to explore the ’real’ Grenada. Away from the main tourist hub and surrounded by lush mountains, it provides you with an experience to make you feel like an individual again.
WE: I see from your website that you have new projects in Italy and also in the UK. Your videos on youtube are certainly a joy to watch. Thank you so much for sharing your art and world with us – it is inspiring! I can’t wait to visit Grenada and see this beauty for myself. Thank you again!
NOTE: 6.09 - Here's an update on Jason's new Underwater Sculptures.
To learn more about Jason’s extraordinary work, please see his website:http://www.underwatersculpture.com/
All photos and information contained herein provided by Jason deCaires Taylor