As the first and only underwater art museum in the Southern hemisphere, the Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA) is billed as the innovative confluence of art, science, culture and conservation via a series of installations by the prominent underwater sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor.
Located in the central part of the world heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of Townsville, it will officially launch on Aug 1, with tours commencing.
The first stage of MOUA has already been installed including Ocean Siren at The Strand and the Coral Greenhouse at John Brewer Reef in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, with further installations planned for Palm and Magnetic Islands.
The Ocean Siren sculpture, modelled after 12-year-old Takoda Johnson, is installed alongside Townsville’s iconic jetty at The Strand with a vision to inspire reef and ocean conservation action and achieve positive environmental outcomes. The young girl is a member of the local Wulgurukaba people, one of two traditional owners of the local land.
The installation reacts to live water temperature data from the Davies Reef weather station on the Great Barrier Reef and changes colour in response to live variations in water temperature.
“She is a visual representation of current conditions underwater and a warning of potential stresses to the marine ecosystem,” said underwater sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor. “We hope to advance education and offer opportunities for scientists, marine students and tourists to engage in action-based learning and to conduct globally important research on coral reef restoration and new technology.”
As for the Coral Greenhouse sculpture at John Brewer Reef, there are tours offering a world-class dive and snorkel experience which features a nine-metre stainless steel greenhouse structure and 20 reef guardian sculptures.
It’s the largest MOUA installation and the first-ever underwater building created by deCaires Taylor. Divers and snorkelers alike will be able to immerse themselves in a unique experience with the reef which strongly connects them to reef conservation and rehabilitation.
Said deCaires Taylor: “Weighing around 58 tonnes, the Coral Greenhouse has taken more than nine months of fabrication time. It is the first piece I have created which integrates floating elements into the design work; it’s also the first time I’ve incorporated technology and coral propagation in the same piece.”