The first set of sculptures has been installed in Museo Atlantico, the first underwater contemporary art museum in Europe and the Atlantic Ocean. Artist Jason deCaires Taylor has fixed a series of sculptural installations to the ocean and, exhibition floor, 14 metres beneath the clear blue waters off the coast of Lanzarote, Spain.

jason-decaires-taylor-underwater-museum-lanzarote-spain-museo-atlantico-culture and life-02 Alongside a collection of figurative works that depict poignant global matters, the underwater gallery also comprises a sunken botanical garden, which responds to the region’s long standing relationship with art and nature. Opening on February 25, 2016, the museum will be open to snorkelers and divers.

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Spanning the seabed, the main installation features an assembly of 35 figures walking towards a gate — a point of no return, or a portal to another world. The sea of people that make up ‘The Rubicon’ are meticulously sculpted and carefully carved with hyper-realistic anatomical features, appearing as lifelike human relics suddenly frozen in time.

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A second submerged installation titled ‘The Raft Of Lampedusa’ depicts a haunting representation of the ongoing humanitarian crisis, with a boat of figures desperately waiting for treatment and aid. Jason deCaires Taylor references the work of French painter Théodore Géricault’s work, ‘The Raft Of The Medusa’, drawing parallels between the abandonment suffered by sailors in his shipwreck scene and the current refugee crisis.

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The project at Museo Atlantico is designed on a wildlife conservation level, by helping to create a large-scale artificial reef for local fish species to increase marine biomass while also, raising awareness to current threats facing the world’s oceans.

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