Jason deCaires Taylor has left us awestricken many times with his extraordinary underwater ocean sculptures, but his latest work is simply jaw dropping. Located along the western coastline of New Providence in Nassau, Bahamas, Ocean Atlas is an immense, 60-ton masterpiece that juts out from the sea floor through the ocean surface. A significant increase in scale, Ocean Atlas is the artist's most ambitious creation yet and is officially the largest single underwater sculpture in the world.
The large sculpture, inspired by the ancient Greek sculpture of Titan Atlas holding up the heavens, was commissioned by B.R.E.E.F (Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation) and depicts a young local Bahamian girl supporting the ceiling of the ocean with all of her might. As part of the Sir Nicholas Nuttall Coral Reef Sculpture Garden, the 18-foot art piece joins other underwater works by local artists such as Willicey Tynes and Andret John and an artificial reef trail created by Reefball.
Installed in the Bahamian waters in early October, the sculpture features a new technique that involves building and assembling the structure piece by piece underwater. According to the artist, the sculpture has been the most challenging project of his career, “The weight loading of 60 tonnes meant that the piece had to be created in sections and assembled underwater. Everything is a hundred times harder in the sea and getting precision parts together underwater was a huge challenge. The technique I used incorporated digital upscaling and a CNC routed mould which had never been done before in a marine environment, so it was the first time and quite nerve wracking.”
Like all of the artist’s works, Ocean Atlas was built using sustainable, ph-neutral materials to create an artificial reef habitat for marine life. A solar light and flag is located on the top of the sculpture to assist marine traffic and alert tourists to endangered natural reefs in the area.