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I’m Holding My Breath for this New Museum

Jason deCaires Taylor (via www.underwatersculpture.com)

Jason deCaires Taylor (via www.underwatersculpture.com)

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.”

La Jardinera (photo: Dr. Jessie Voights, www.wanderingeducators.com)

La Jardinera de la Esperanza (photo: Dr. Jessie Voights, www.wanderingeducators.com)

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.

Vicissitudes by Jason deCaires Taylor, Grenada, West Indies

Vicissitudes by Jason deCaires Taylor, Grenada, West Indies

Detail, Vicissitudes by Jason deCaires Taylor, Grenada, West Indies

Detail, Vicissitudes by Jason deCaires Taylor, Grenada, West Indies (via trendhunter.com)

A Curiouser Alice in Waterland

If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Everything is what is isn’t in the surrealistic world of Alice in Waterland, Elena Kalis‘s stunning re-interpretation of the Lewis Carroll classic imagined beneath the water’s surface. (Via CityofSkies.com and Yatzer.com)

This Russian-born artist, now living in the Bahamas, specializes in underwater photography; with her daughter as model and muse she has recreated the story in a fresh, new fantastical way.

From an interview with Elena Kalis on Yatzer.com, the artist notes:

Alice in Wonderland is timeless. It’s open to interpretations and it’s up to you to make them. I decided to make it for a few reasons: this is my all time favorite book, my daughter Sacha is the same age as Alice (10) and very good at modeling underwater and, finally, the story itself seems like from some lucid different place…(underwater perhaps ?)




All photos © Elena Kalis

Catering To Your Deep Love of Seafood

Why just dine on fresh seafood when you can dine with fresh seafood? Go ahead, enjoy a “reverse aquarium” dining experience and don’t give it a thought that the act is possibly being witnessed by your meal’s relatives.

The Conrad Maldives Rangali Island’s Ithaa undersea restaurant is 16 feet below sea level with stunning views of reef and marine life. Don’t expect to just impulsively paddle into this unique venue without advance reservations, as it seats just 12 guests. Prepare yourself for a depth charge, as meals run between US$120 to US$250. But hey, we’re talking once-in-a-lifetime here, right?

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Ithaa

Your other option for dining underwater is the Eilat, Israel Red Sea Star Underwater Restaurant, Bar and Observatory, with an ocean fantasy decor that will have you scanning the crowd for Sponge Bob Squarepants. This place seats 105 diners with easier-to-swallow price points ($US10 to $20).

Before the restaurant was built in 1998, the site was devoid of sea life, the victim of pollution, sewage and over-development. Over several years, clean up included restoration of the active and colorful coral reef that originally thrived there decades ago. As the habitat was recreated, the fish soon followed.

Red Sea Star Underwater Restaurant, Bar and Observatory

(Read more at trifter.com; more photos of the Red Sea Star are here.)