Jason deCaires Taylor is the mastermind behind the Museum of Underwater Sculpture Ayia Napa (Musan)

Artist Jason deCaires Taylor has made a big splash in the art world once more – this time with an underwater forest off the coast of party hotspot Ayia Napa in Cyprus.

The Briton is known for creating underwater museums that feature striking sculpture collections. He’s created aquatic sculpture gardens everywhere from Cannes, Mexico, Grenada, the Bahamas, Lanzarote, Norway, Australia, and the Maldives – though this one was partially destroyed after it was deemed offensive.

Titled Museum of Underwater Sculpture Ayia Napa (Musan), his latest submerged endeavour is 200 metres (656ft) off the coast of Pernera Beach and features 93 sculptures on the seabed between eight and 10 metres (26 to 33ft) below the surface.

The exhibition, made with a budget of £846,685 (€1million), opened last month, with divers and snorkelers invited to explore what lies beneath.

The artworks, lowered into the sea using a crane, allude to the relationship between man and nature, with life-size sculptures of children pointing cameras and playing amid 13-tonne blue-tinged trees that catch the light as swimmers paddle overhead.

Made in conjunction with the government of Cyprus, the artworks are intended to resemble a path through the forest floor.

And it’s hoped that the materials will be a haven for sea life.

A launch statement said: ‘The sculptures have been designed and made with materials that attract marine life, and are placed at different depths, thus creating a suitable substrate for marine life at all levels.

‘The sculptures are made of inert materials, with neutral pH, so as not to affect the area adversely. It’s a sandy area and it is expected that over time the biodiversity of the area will be enriched, thanks to the museum.’

The artist describes the sculptures as ‘active catalysts’ in nurturing aquatic life and reefs, meaning Musan will become an evolving and growing underwater forest.

Ayia Napa’s Mayor, Christos Zannettou, said: ‘We believe that with this unique diving museum visitors will be able to enjoy an underwater oasis.’

The past 20 years have seen maritime ecosystems in the Mediterranean deplete radically, with eco-artists like deCaires Taylor determined to make a change.

The qualified diving instructor is preoccupied with man’s impact on the earth in his work, which has a focus on biodiversity.


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