Soon, Cancun may be noted for something more than Spring break underage drinkers. A national park in Cancun will soon feature sculptures of human figures situated in the seabed, with the first four “going down” this month. These are the beginning of what will eventually be hundreds of figures in “the worlds largest underwater museum.” From BBC News on November 19th,
According to the park’s director Jaime Gonzalez, one of the aims is to reduce the pressure on the natural habitat in other areas of the park by luring tourists away from existing coral reef, which has suffered damage from hurricanes and human activity.
One of the sculptures is La Jardinera de la Esperanza (The Gardener of Hope). It features a young girl lying on a garden patio, surrounded by potted plants. When it is installed four meters below the surface, the work will include propagated coral in the empty pots. This well-established reef conservation technique will rescue damaged coral fragments by providing a suitable new substrate. The base incorporates habitat spaces for other marine creatures such as moray eels, small fish and lobsters.
“It all happens rather quickly – within two weeks, we will see green algae,” says artist Jason deCaires Taylor, who is in charge of the project. “Then within a few months, juvenile algae will appear and the project will progress from there.”
The BBC article also included this observation from Dr. Paul Jepson, a lecturer in conservation at the UK’s University of Oxford, who applauded the idea of the museum.
“Conservationists need to find different ways of engaging with the world. Artists should get involved in environmental matters so it is not just scientists trying to get the message out there,” he said.
And I wholeheartedly applaud that. In fact, that why I write about “Water and Art” and exactly why it matters.