Unique and stunning underwater sculpture
Jason de Caires Taylor is an internationally recognised sculptor with a difference.
Instead of bleak urban backdrops for his creations, he has crafted a stunning and unique underwater sculpture park in the shallow waters of Grenada.
His desire to create striking and meaningful art forms and his love of the underwater world led him to explore the intricate relationships between art and the environment.
For Grenada, this has resulted in a series of beautiful marine seascapes that have formed a series of artificial reefs, drawing new life into areas which have been damaged
The sculptures are sited in clear, shallow waters to allow easy access by divers, snorkellers and those in glass-bottomed boats. Jason is keen to engage local people, particularly children, in his work to build a direct relationship with and understanding of their own precious natural resource.
The physical nature of the underwater world is vastly different from that of dry land. Objects appear 25 per cent larger underwater, and as a consequence they also appear closer. Colours alter as light is absorbed and reflected at different rates, with the depth of the water affecting this further.
The large number of angles and perspectives from which the sculptures can be viewed increase the unique experience of encountering the works.
His first work, Grace Reef, was built in a bay where the coral growth and natural habitat had been decimated by Hurricane Ivan. It comprises 16 statues, each cast from a local Grenadian woman.
Located across an expansive underwater area the work draws marine life to a zone that has suffered substantial and sustained storm damage. The direction and strengths of currents mean that entire sections of the work become covered, hidden and lost. At other times figures emerge and are fully visible.
Another major work is Vicissitudes comprising the extraordinary visual impact of a circle of 26 life-size children of diverse ethnic background, all holding hands and facing outwards.
The cement finish and chemical composition of Vicissitudes actively promotes the colonisation of coral and marine life. This natural process echoes the changes experienced through growing up and shows how time and environment impact on and shape the physical body.
Children by nature are adaptive to their surroundings and their use within the work highlights the importance of creating a sustainable and well-managed environment, a space for future generations.
"This piece took six months to create and weighs about 15 tons" Jason tells Miranda. "Consequently I had to install it in sections and it attracted quite a lot of local attention as parts of it sat outside the front of my house!".
Un-Still life is a beautiful depiction of the essence of growth and change in the marine environment which mirrors the composition of still life tableaux.
On a table is an arrangement of cement objects; a vase, bowl and fruit. In contrast to established ideas of stasis the work is constantly changing, remaining a work in progress as living coral builds layers onto its surface and marine creatures take up residence in its tiny nooks and crannies.
This colonisation becomes a physical equivalent to the conventional development of drawing and painting.
Jason currently has 65 stunning installations in place. The majority of his work is in Grenada, but he also has additional projects in the UK and Europe. Contracts have been agreed for the first phase of a new underwater project in Mexico, placed within the National Marine Park of Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Nisuc. Jason works out of his studio in London.