The world’s first underwater sculpture park has just gotten a lot bigger.
Created by British sculptor and ecologist Jason deCaires Taylor in 2006, the Molinere Bay Underwater Sculpture Park in Grenada is now one of the Caribbean country’s most popular underwater attractions.
The captivating installation recently expanded significantly, with 31 new sculptures added to the site, situated in a marine protected area off the west coast of the island.
Among the new additions is “Coral Carnival,” a sculpture series based on Spicemas, Grenada’s hugely popular carnival that showcases iconic masqueraders such as the “Jab Jab,” a character with chains who is a symbol of freedom for Grenadians.
Commissioned by the Grenadian Ministry of Implementation and Tourism, the project aims to showcase Grenada’s culture and history.
“The carnival is obviously a very, very strong part of Grenada’s culture and history, so they wanted to tell that story,” deCaires Taylor tells CNN Travel.
“It’s been quite interesting learning about all the different masqueraders and the history behind them.”
Each of the sculptures, which were partly constructed in the UK, are based on real life people, who posed as models for the artists.
The majority of the new pieces were created by deCaires Taylor, who worked in collaboration with various local artists to make sure that they “were representative of the characters.”
Meanwhile, Grenadian artist Troy Lewis created four of the new sculptures, including the Christ of the Deep, a replica of the statue given to the Grenadian people in recognition of the help provided to the crew and passengers of the ‘Bianca C,’ which sank on the island in 1961.
Made with high-grade stainless steel and pH-neutral marine cement, the sculptures are designed to act as artificial coral reefs, with holes and shelters to attract marine life such as octopuses and lobsters, creating a rather spectacular looking habitat.
According to deCaires Taylor, marine life had already made itself at home within the sculptures days after they were installed.
“There was an octopus that moved into the base of one of them, which is really nice to see,” he says, before going on to describe how a family of crabs had also moved into the base of one of the sculptures, while a stingray could be found in another.
“What’s quite interesting about these characters is the silhouettes are really, really strong,” he adds. “They’re so unique that the silhouettes are quite striking from a distance. I haven’t seen that before.”
This also marks the first time deCaires Taylor has introduced color into his underwater sculptures.
“Normally, they’re very gray,” he notes. “This time we used natural pigments to actually paint the sculptures. So I’m quite interested to see how those change and whether they’ll be colonized in any different way. Marine life is very influenced by color.” (Excerpt from 'Ghostly new figures appear in the waters of the Caribbean’, cnn.com, 2023)
Why was the project "Coral Carnival" commissioned by the Grenadian Ministry of Implementation and Tourism?