Friday, January 9, 2009
Mexican artist Jason De Caires creates beautiful underwater sculptural pieces which are strengthened by the coral, algae, and marine life that grow on them. These pieces are created on land, transported by boat, and carefully submerged into shallow areas of water. Larger works are made in pieces and are bolted to the ocean floor. The sculptures are sited in clear shallow waters to afford easy access by divers, snorkellers and those in glass-bottomed boats.
Only about 10 – 15% of the sea bed has a solid enough substratum to allow reefs to form naturally. In order to increase the number of reefs in these areas artificial reefs have recently been created from materials that are durable, secure and environmentally sensitive. These reefs appear to have been successful in that they have attracted coral growth which, in turn, can support an entire marine ecosystem.
One of the greatest benefits of artificial reefs is that they have lifted the pressure off natural reefs which, over the past few decades, have been over-fished and over-visited. By diverting attention to artificial reefs, natural reefs have now been given a greater chance to repair and to regenerate.
His sculptures highlight ecological processes whilst exploring the intricate relationships between modern art and the environment. By using sculptures to create artificial reefs, the artist’s interventions promote hope and recovery, and underline our need to understand and protect the natural world. Viewers are invited to discover the beauty of our underwater planet and to appreciate the processes of reef evolution.
Moilinere bay in Grenada, within an area designated a National Marine Park, is now home to sixty-five sculptures, covering an area of 800sq metres. Moiliniere Bay suffered considerable storm damage in recent years and the placement of an artificial structure has provided a new base for marine life to proliferate. The sculptures were also designed to create a diversion from other areas of coral reef currently endangered by over use from water actvities.
Some of De Cairnes other works can be seen in Cantebury and Greece.