Gallery: Artist Jason deCaires Taylor Builds an Incredible Coral Reef f...

Moreover, his thoughtful placement in the shallow and crystal-clear waters of The National Marine Park of Cancun, Mexico, makes the piece very accessible to divers and tourists.
Moreover, his thoughtful placement in the shallow and crystal-clear waters of The National Marine Park of Cancun, Mexico, makes the piece very accessible to divers and tourists.

We probably don’t have to mention the life-threatening conditions natural reefs are under today due to human behavior. However, artificial reefs, which are quite a new phenomenon, have proved to be a very good alternative as they are durable, environmentally friendly and offer relief to the natural ones as they can regenerate. With 400 life-size human sculptures installed 9 meters below sea level, Silent Evolution plays many roles, but it is foremost an artificial reef encouraging the growth of marine life. Taylor’s sculptures are created with a pH-neutral concrete, reinforced with fiberglass, which (surprisingly) attracts marine life. Taylor also ‘rescues’ coral damaged in storms or by humans, and replants these on his sculptures.

In all its beauty there’s something a bit eerie about The Silent Evolution. Is it the closed eyes, the surrounding blue hue of the sea, or perhaps the emotions the lifeless sculptures still seem to express? There’s a strong feeling of hope in the work, even though the physical structure of the sculptures look as though the people have been tied together. Taylor’s message can be read in many different ways and voices, but what he does succinctly is to remind us of our close relation to – and not to mention dependency on – nature.

These types of underwater projects have made Jason deCaires Taylor both a name and reputation. With a background in graffiti art and scuba diving, Taylor developed an interest for the relationship between art and the environment early on, and now creates pieces that both long-lasting and intellectually challenging. Moreover, his thoughtful placement in the shallow and crystal-clear waters of The National Marine Park of Cancun, Mexico, makes the piece very accessible to divers and tourists.

The installation was inaugurated on November 27, 2010, and you can follow Taylor’s work on Facebook and watch the sculptures develop and become ‘dressed’ in coral.

+ Jason deCaires Taylor

Images via Under Water Sculpture


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  1. lopato1 April 22, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Perhaps this is a lovely project. But it would be even lovelier, to see a few more animals amongst the many people amongst sculptures under water…it would be a nice sign against anthropocentrism.

  2. deathofagasguzzler December 29, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Forrest makes a very good point, but you have to hand it to him by the amazing aesthetics of this art project and the creative way he designed this artificial reef!

  3. Pasquale Yokiel September 11, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    Hi, I enjoy your blog. Is there something I can do to receive updates like a subscription or some thing? I’m sorry I’m not acquainted with RSS?

  4. Joan Bartos February 14, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    Well, pointing out the environmental costs of a project like this is not necessarily a “negative” comment or outlook, Brooki3. And remike4, why are you so defensive about a simple request? We are all responsible for the repercussions of what we create, and this includes artists. A discussions of the trade-offs involved only helps to educate and raise awareness of the need to conserve and use the best materials possible.

    Personally I am amazed at this stunning and moving art installation! I can only imagine that it’s beauty and function as an artificial reef will grow with time.

  5. jhawk7769 February 12, 2011 at 10:48 am

    I bet Forrest doesn’t believe in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy either…party pooper!!!

  6. ropachon1 February 12, 2011 at 3:05 am

    By looking at the pictures in which friendly fish swim around the figures, I was dreaming it could become the seed or base for a real reef.
    Very interesting idea.

  7. Brooki3 February 4, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Hmm… @Forrest and revmike24, Not once did the author condemn anyone for anything. He was simply stating a fact. Why must you come on here and be negative about something beautiful that has been added to the world? It makes no sense for both of you to get on your high horse.

    I hope that you will learn to respect art and nature a little more than you both show.

    Have a blessed day,

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  10. Jean-Michel Cousteau Ec... November 16, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    […] Savusavu on the second largest island of Fiji. Surrounding the property off the coast are beautiful coral reefs, which have been designated as a marine reserve and are open for snorkeling and diving, but not for […]

  11. revmike4 November 12, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    Are you using a computer to type your comments Forrest? What was the impact of creating that device? Do you live in a house? Are the studs in the walls wood or metal? Either way… Do you drive a car Forrest? What are the ‘environmental impacts’ of your automobile? ‘Green House Gases, not to mention the production of a single automobile’? Easy to point, not so easy to adjust yourself…

  12. Forrest November 11, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    The one thing neglected in this story is the tremendous amount of green house gases that cement creates in its production, not to mention the production of fibreglass. Aesthetics aside, I’d be much more interested to know the negative/positive environmental impacts of the project.

  13. ines p November 11, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Absolutely beautiful!

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