Australia has been a store of marine history. The museum of underwater art is one such location to experience marine life which also aims to raise awareness to save the threatened ecosystem. The museum also aims to rehabilitate some parts of the reef. The museum is created by a British Sculptor and environmentalist Jason deCaires Taylor. All of the installations are either partially or fully submerged, the design also has sculptures which aim to become sites for marine life regeneration.
This underwater museum will have artworks along the Queensland coast which includes the John Brewer Reef, Palm Island, Townsville, and Magnetic Island. The first phase of it has opened in Townsville. The artist has installed an Ocean Siren Installation along the coast that will change colours, the concept behind this solar-powered sculpture is to raise awareness for the criticality of the environmental issues and hazards. This sculpture will change colours about the live water temperature data generated from the Australian Institute of Marine Science. Another interesting concept of this sculpture would be its exposure during low tide and high tide. During high tides, this sculpture would be submerged in water and will glow for underwater presentation and in low tide, it will be exposed for a far-sighted view.
“The Australian Institute of Marine Science has a series of temperature loggers around the reef. It will compile this data and feed it into the sculpture so that changes in temperature will be seen in real-time,” said deCaires Taylor.
The artist behind this vision claims that this would be successful in spreading and environmental awareness to shape public debate. This museum will also help in making people aware of the environmental policies and measures.
“Our oceans are going through rapid change, and there are huge threats, from rising sea temperatures to acidification, and a large amount of pollution entering the system,” he said. “Part of creating an underwater museum is about changing our value systems – thinking about the seafloor as something sacred, something that we should be protecting and not taking for granted.”
The artist has been a veteran in creating underwater sculptures. He has previously worked on the Underwater Sculpture Park in Grenada, Cancun, Lanzarote, Bahamas, and now Queensland.
John Brewer Reef
Apart from these primary exhibits, the museum will also have other installations like a Coral Greenhouse at John Brewer Reef that will have over 2,000 coral fragments planted from marine nurseries. This will in turn help in creating a marine ecosystem.
The sculptures in the museum are conceptualized to make the museum more humane in approach and to generate a sense of awareness through them. These sculptures are made up of a pH-neutral marine cement with a textured surface.
This site will include a story of reef science and is expected to be completed by 2021. This installation is being created with the involvement of the local indigenous community. This installation aims to increase the touristy in the precinct. Magnetic island aims to attract a much needed economic boost to the area. Although this site is set to be accessed only through a group headed by official tourist guides.
The ideation and concept of this project are to attract tourism as almost two million people visit the Great Barrier Reef each year, the aim is to make these visitors more educationally aware about the environment. They also aim to attract the local visitors more than the overseas visitors as they are in turn more responsible to take care of the reefs for the coming generations.
“We all care about the reef, but to have fantastic sculptures – representing the reef, representing people – is a reminder just how fragile [the reef] is, and how we’ve got to look after it and treat it like a museum,” said Adam Smith, managing director at Reef Ecologic.