The world’s first public underwater sculpture park located off the west coast of Grenada was open for public viewing in 2006. Created by British sculptor Jason de Caires Taylor the Molinere Underwater Sculpture Park features a unique collection of ecological underwater contemporary art.
A couple of days after dropping anchor in St George’s Bay in Grenada, we pile up on the Rubber Duck (Mel and Caryn’s dinghy) and head for the Sculpture Park in Molienere Bay. It’s not too far, only 2 miles north from the St George’s anchorage or about 20-30 minute dinghy ride in calm seas.
It’s Saturday and at 9 in the morning there are two diving boats and another dinghy already stationed on the mooring balls in the bay. A group of divers with a guide and a snorkeling family are already in the water. We grab a mooring too, put on our masks and snorkels, and begin exploring the sandy shallows of the bay.
There are over 65 submerged sculptures scattered on an area of 800 square meters which allows us to swim around undisturbed avoiding the other visitors, discovering the artworks in the collection one by one.
The water temperature is pleasant but visibility is not perfect. The sea is murky from the swell and currents we’ve been getting in the past few days due to Hurricane Gonzalo’s passing north of Grenada.
We float on the surface of the sea. Beneath us lying down on the sea floor in 12 feet of water are the 16 bodies of one woman. ‘Grace Reef’ is the first installation consisting of 16 concrete statues cast from the body of a local Grenadian woman. It’s eerie and beautiful, as well as a bit morbid. Underwater, the inanimate human figures suddenly become lost, drowned, abandoned.
Most of the sculptures represent human figures from life casts of actual Grenadian people: men, women and children. They have been designed to promote coral growth using techniques to reduce the pH of the cement and by applying a textured surface thus encouraging coral polyps to attach onto the surface and change the appearance of the artworks over time. Eventually the structures become sanctuaries for small marine life, like artificial reefs.
The most recognized and impressive installation is ‘Vicissitudes’, a ring of 26 children holding hands facing outwards into the current. Symbolizing life’s ongoing cycle and the ability of children to adapt to their surroundings, the piece is a means of conveying environmental awareness and evokes the importance of sustainable and well managed marine environment for future generations. In an interview for Environmental Graffiti, the artists said: “I am trying to portray how human intervention or interaction with nature can be positive and sustainable, an icon of how we can live in a symbiotic relationship with nature.”
British artist, Jason de Caires Taylor born in August of 1974 started as a dive instructor and graffiti artists to become a world-renown environmental artist, underwater photographer, and marine conservationist, combining his two passions for sea and art. “I’m very interested in public art and how an object changes in response to its environment.“
The artist main goal is to divert visitors away from damaged by hurricanes and human activity endangered natural reefs, like the most visited snorkeling destination on the island, Flamingo Bay, located not far from the sculpture park. He also hopes that his eco-friendly installations will provide new habitats for marine life and enhance the local ecosystems.
We snorkel around the sculpture and dive for a closer look. The bodies and faces of the figures are covered in new corals, marine plants and aquatic life forms. Parrot fish, yellow tails and other small fishes swim undisturbed among the concrete figures already colonized by sponges and tunicates. The undersea art collection has become their new neighborhood. We are their guests.Share