Artist Jason deCaires Taylor has created an incredible artificial reef of statues he calls Silent Evolution. Located off the coast of Cancun, Mexico, the compelling installation took several months to complete. Silent Evolution embodies a spirit that shifts between sadness and awe, all while reminding us of the intricate relationship between man and nature.
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.
Images via Under Water Sculpture