PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Cancun's Underwater Sculpture Garden

Visionary artist and eco-sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor’s “Phoenix” located off Isla Mujeres in Mexico

In the shallow waters off Cancun, you’ll find a breathtaking spectacle of art integrated with nature.  This summer, eco-sculptor Jason de Caires Taylor will place 60 news pieces into the waters off Isla Mujeres, including “Phoenix” shown above, the first kinetic sculpture in the 450-piece underwater collection that makes up MUSA (Museo Subacuático de Arte).  The stunning female form has living purple gorgonian fan coral as wings. Each of Taylor’s compelling pieces are constructed from materials made to promote coral growth and marine life in the area, and will last hundreds of years.  They also serve to pull visitors away from the fragile natural reef systems within the Cancun Marine Park so that they may recover and thrive. Forty percent of the ocean’s reefs have been destroyed and it is estimated that 80% will be gone by 2050.  Taylor is proactively trying to make a difference by encouraging the regeneration of marine life.

MUSA is divided into two galleries called Salon Manchones and Salon Nizuc. The first is eight meters deep and suitable for both divers and snorkelers, while the second is four meters deep and for snorkeling only.  At the Salon Manchones, you’ll also find Taylor’s masterpiece, The Silent Evolution 2010, 400 life-size casts of individuals taken from a broad cross section of humanity, also built to attract fish and coral.  Over time, each of Taylor’s pieces is transformed by nature as algae attaches to a figure’s face, coral envelops a table or lobsters invade a VW bug for shelter.

Taylor states, “Taking art off of the white walls of a gallery offers the viewer a sense of discovery and participation. Underwater, one has a truly multi-dimensional and multi-sensual experience, free from the confines of gravity and offering a viewing perspective that is both intimate and personal.”

What a genius.

Photo courtesy of Jason deCaires Taylor.

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