Underwater Sculpture by Jason deCaires Taylor at Cancun, Mexico’s MUSA (Museo Subacuático de Arte) provides a very unique way to view art in a very unique location. The underwater art museum can be viewed scuba diving, snorkeling, night snorkeling, glass bottomed boats, parasailing, and free diving.
There are over 400 permanent life-size sculptures within the boundaries of The National Marine Park, ranging from depths of 9 FT to 20 FT. Besides being art, it is also considered an artificial reef because the sculpture installations are made with special materials (cement, sand, micro silica, fibre glass, live coral) that promote marine life.
The major attraction, “The Silent Evolution,” is an optimistic statement about the evolution of the Mayan people. The ages of those who posed for the statues range from 85 years old all the way down to 3 years old. They’re from all walks of life and are represented as gathered together.
The sculptures will change in appearance overtime due to ocean currents eroding the details and marine organisms attaching themselves to the statues and forming a new ecosystem. It is expected for corals, sponges, and algae to flourish which will then attract other marine creatures to breed and make homes for themselves.
On one hand this is incredibly cool and beautiful, just look at the photo above, she looks like she’s wrapped in a halo. On the other it can be disturbing to watch the faces disappear under the marine life. It can be alien and creepy and occasionally corpse like (which makes it hard for me to see the optimistic message the artist indicates in the piece). I can’t imagine night snorkeling to see these statues. The aesthetic changes are easier to take when the statues look serene and gentle, when the expressions are less so, grotesque is the word that comes in mind. What do you think?
Videos of the Underwater Art Museum: