The Museum of Underwater Art in Townsville, Australia, opened on Aug. 2.
Created as a call to action for ocean conservation, the museum’s exhibits are located at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park’s John Brewer Reef, sitting on the ocean floor 18 meters under water.
“When we talk about reefs, we’re very much talking about what we’re leaving for younger generations,” said sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, who created one of the museum’s exhibits Coral Greenhouse. “I also wanted to encourage more youth into marine science and into exploring and understanding the underwater world.”
Coral Greenhouse consists of a 64-ton art piece with a 40-foot skeletal structure with 20 statues of students working with coral as well as three sculptures of local flora such as eucalyptus and umbrella palm, reported Travel and Leisure. The pieces were built with corrosion-resistant stainless steel and pH-neutral cement compounds which will stimulate natural coral growth.
Taylor also hopes that the exhibit will be a refuge for animals such as sea urchins and octopuses.
Read also: Australia’s Great Barrier Reef home to underwater art
“The beam sections provide minimal resistance to wave energy, while providing an ideal surface for filter-feeding organisms and schooling fish to congregate,” said Taylor to The Guardian.
The exhibit was finalized last December and was set to open to divers and snorkelers in April before the coronavirus pandemic escalated.
The Museum of Underwater Art has three other exhibits, including Ocean Siren, the only one visible from above water, a 4.8-meter-tall depiction of 12-year-old Townsville local and Wulgurukaba Traditional Owner Takoda Johnson. Installed in December, the sculpture's LED lights change color depending on the water temperature of the Davies Reef, with blue indicating safe and dark red meaning critical.
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#OceanSiren changes colour according to water temperature out on the #greatbarrierreef in Australia. Consistent dark red colours warn of potential coral bleaching. It is entirely powered by solar energy. #townsville @moua_museum_of_underwater_art
A post shared by Jason Decaires Taylor (@jasondecairestaylor) on Jul 3, 2020 at 1:13pm PDT
The other two exhibits of the museum are scheduled for completion in 2021, namely Palm Island in June and Magnetic Island in December. (car/wng)