From Bali to the Bahamas, these underwater sculpture attractions give divers and snorkelers a chance to immerse themselves in art.
ByÂ Gabrielle Lipton
Mexico:Â Museo SubacuĂˇtico de Arte
Fans of British artist Jason deCaires Taylor, who created the worldâ€™s first underwater sculpture park in Grenada in 2006, will want to explore his even more expansive installation at MUSA, the subaquatic â€śmuseumâ€ť that he co-founded six years ago. Spread across two sites off the coasts of CancĂşnâ€™s Isla Mujeres and Punta Nizuc, it features more than 500 of his sculptural works, all cast from pH-neutral marine concrete in an effort to promote new coral growth.
Bahamas:Â Sir Nicholas Nuttall Coral Reef Sculpture Garden
Opened last year off the coast of New Providence, this park is now one of the Bahamas’ top dive sites, and rightly so: itâ€™s home to Taylorâ€™s Ocean Atlas, the biggest sculpture of its kind yet. Alongside works by Bahamian artists, the statueâ€”more than five meters tall and weighing over 60 tonsâ€”depicts a girl kneeling under the weight of the ocean, symbolizing future generations’ environmental burden.
Italy:Â Christ of the Abyss
This life-size bronze statue of Christ, arms outstretched and head tilted upward, was first submerged in 1954 in honor of the pioneering Italian scuba diver Dario Gonzatti, who drowned near this spot off the Ligurian coast eight years earlier. Sunk 17 meters deep in a cove fronting the Abbey of San Fruttuoso, Il Cristo degli Abissi is also the worldâ€™s oldest underwater sculpture, though a 2004 restoration returned the barnacle-encrusted monument to much of its original state.
Indonesia:Â Jemeluk Bay Underwater Gallery
Amed, Baliâ€™s popular east-coast dive destination, has been attracting more attention recently thanks to the underwater gallery at Jemeluk Bay. A collaboration between local environmental NGOs and U.K.-based “eco art” group The Marine Foundation, the project features sculptures by Indonesian artists Wayan Winten and Eddi Prabandono, including a working post box where divers can mail waterproof postcards sold in local shops.
This article originally appeared in theÂ June/JulyÂ print issue of DestinAsian magazine (â€śWater Worksâ€ť)