09 Dec Denizens of the Deep
Would you allow yourself to be covered in petroleum jelly, wrapped head-to-toe in plastic wrap and sit for 30 minutes in a full-body plaster-of-Paris cast? Well, that’s what it would take if you were one of the models who sat for Jason de Caires Taylor, creator of Grenada’s underwater sculpture garden.
At Moilinere Bay, a couple of miles north of the capital of St. Georges, Taylor has created an eerie installation of 65 life-size cement sculptures, a submarine spectacle that’s the first of its kind in the Caribbean. There’s Vicissitudes, a haunting circle of 25 children holding hands, and The Lost Correspondent, a figure of a man seated at a desk whose drawers are now home to banded coral shrimp. Back in 2009 these and other sculptures were hoisted by crane, submerged and bolted to the sea bed as much as 26 feet below the surface. Now they’ve attracted fish, coral and other sea life, taking the pressure off the surrounding reefs.
“I’ve always lived near the sea. And I’m very interested in public art and how an object changes in relation to its environment,” Jason told me when I visited him at his studio. Divers, snorkelers and glass bottom boat cruisers can now see those changes for themselves on one of many island excursions to this fascinating undersea art gallery.