sculpture of a head, eyes closed, underwater.
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When you think of things you might find in the ocean, your list probably includes things like fish, sharks, whales, dolphins, coral reefs. And art museums? That’s right, the Underwater Museum of Cannes is now open for visitors in the Mediterranean Sea!

The INSTALLATION includes six three-dimensional portraits, each more than two meters tall (roughly 6.5 feet) and weighing in at 10 tons each of pH-neutral cement! The sculptures are just off the coast of Cannes, France, and are of six local residents.

Museum Facts:

• Weight of each portrait: 10 tons

• Height of each sculpture: 6.5 feet

• Number of sculptures: 6

• Depth in ocean: 3-4 meters

• Years to complete: 4

Before artist Jason deCaires Taylor created these sculptures, he put an ad in a local newspaper for locals to have their faces cast into art. He made casts of 40 faces and chose six to blow up into sculptures.

The installation was placed in relatively shallow water and close to the shore, so snorkelers and scuba divers alike can visit the museum. Taylor says that he calls it a museum for an important reason.

“Museums are places of preservation, conservation and education. They’re places where we keep objects of great value to us, where we value them simply for being themselves,” Taylor states on his website.

Taylor’s goal is to draw attention to the declining state of the world’s oceans. The Mediterranean Sea, too, has suffered from the common water problems pollution and overfishing. Coral reefs are a vital component of oceans as 25 percent of all marine species are found in, on, and around coral reefs. More than 500 million people depend on coral reefs for food, income, coastal protection and more. In addition to highlighting the importance and fragility of our oceans and coral reefs, Taylor’s artworks serve as artificial coral reefs.

As impressive as the Cannes underwater art museum is, it’s actually not the first of its kind, or even the first underwater project that Taylor has completed. He has created more than 1,000 underwater sculptures around the world in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans!

May 2021